Lord God, You have created us in Your image, to reflect You in the world and ultimately bring about Your glory and praise and worth. And yet because of our sin, we have marred and distorted that image so greatly, we fall short of Your glory daily and are subject to Your wise justice and resulting judgment for how we have turned from You and treat our fellow humans. For all the ways we’ve fallen short, have mercy upon us, as we know You are ready and willing to do. Thank You Jesus for Your perfect law keeping in our behalf, Your sacrifice on the cross in our place and Your glorious resurrection for us, that we would behold Your face in glory forever and be satisfied for all eternity. 

Father we pray for the unborn today, those made in Your image that are subject to some of the greatest brutality in our nation and world, that You would enter into justice on their behalf and bring about needed change, but that this change would start primarily at the level of all of our hearts, change which can only come at the deepest levels through gospel transformation from the inside out. Would You protect these image bearers and bring about the greatest good for the most vulnerable among us, and would we, Your church, come alongside mothers to aid them in their distress when this seems like the only option for them.

Father, as we come to MLK day tomorrow, we’re reminded of the rights and privileges that have been deprived of our fellow image bearers for so long, those mistreated and held in a dehumanizing light by society at large. Father, though we are so thankful for the rights and privileges afforded by the work of so many including Martin Luther King during the civil rights era, we know there is still a long ways to go in bringing about the best possible flourishing for so many minorities and others in our country and pursuing justice on their behalf. Lord help us in this where we see need in our spheres of influence.

For both of these groups, the unborn and those affected by various forms of injustice, would You make us a people that holistically pursues and upholds life from birth to death as those entrusted with the message of eternal reconciliation and resurrection. Would this desire flow from the grace we’ve been shown in the good news of the gospel. For this Lord, You are glorious and worthy to be praised. 

A Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer for this Second Sunday after Epiphany:

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that Your people, illumined by Your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.