Father, apart from Jesus and the work of Your Holy Spirit in our salvation, we can do nothing. In our natural, sinful state apart from Your intervention, we can’t lift a finger to perform some work or make a step toward You in righteousness. In fact we are opposed to You. We are unholy, depraved, and sinful beyond what we can even understand as Romans 3 makes clear, to the point that even our wills need Your life-giving touch.
And Father, that’s why we praise You today that You didn’t leave us in this state of rebellion, but first came to us and loved us even while enemies, even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins, and You sent Your promised Holy Spirit, spoken of long ago in the Old Testament and fulfilled through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus who has sent Him to us. We praise You that in Christ, through Your Spirit you made us alive to not merely accept the invitation to believe, but through the reformation of our wills, You actually gave us the gift of eyes to see You, ears to hear You, and hearts that are turned from stone to flesh and are now able to will and desire to rest in and receive You as our Savior. And not only that, but Your Spirit continues the work of regenerating us even now, He is present as our comforter, our guide, and the One who points us to and shines the light of grace and turns our eyes toward Christ, that in seeing Him more fully, we might be changed gradually into His image. We praise You Holy Spirit for Your ongoing work in us and ask for Your grace to sustain us in suffering, work in us the joy of Christ in any and every circumstance, and turn us toward holiness and away from the way of the world that leads to destruction, either through distraction by good things in life or works that lead to death. Comfort us now and eternally by Your presence.
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP)