Father for all the ways we fall short of Your glory, we pray for forgiveness and know that You are always ready and willing to accept us when we turn. But we pray even further Lord for our hearts that we would be a people who are truly repentant and ready to turn from our sin. And we pray not just that we would merely turn from it, but that we would embrace Christ in the place of it because apart from You we can do nothing and will merely fall back into our sin.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. – Psalm 33:18-19
Father we rejoice in the fact that you have your eye on us, those who rest in your faithfulness and love toward us. Despite our ongoing sinful condition, we thank you that you will not leave us to our sin but will move heaven and earth to be near us and demonstrated that so clearly and effectively through blood of your son. Deliver us from our sin, deliver us from those things of the world that keep us from deeper fellowship with you. During the present state of the world would you sustain and keep our hearts alive and on fire with love for you even as we find ourselves in a famine of sorts. Draw near to us even as we draw near to you.
“O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” | Psalm 30:2
Father we are those whom You have drawn up from the grave, whom you’ve healed, restored, forgiven, made Your very children. You have achieved the absolute impossible task of actually regenerating our hearts, softening them by Your Spirit, making them aware of the indwelling sin that keeps us from You and turning them from that sin to the greatness and glory and power and majesty of who You are, melting them by the very sight of You. Would we not become indifferent and complacent to the wonder and miracle it is that we have been made your own, adopted into Your family, transferred from the domain of darkness and brought into the kingdom of your marvelous light. Our identity lies in You, not in our possessions, not in our status, not in our comfort or where we live or what we do or who our friends are. We are yours and You are ours through faith Lord. Would you help us together as a church to believe what is already true about us: justified by faith, counted with the same righteousness that You posses, as a gift. Would you help us Lord in our temptation to despair during this strange time that You are sovereignly over, that we would press into this time with You while at home alone, with our kids, with our spouses to dig up the treasure of Scripture, to meditate upon Your presence with us and let Your grace soak into us like a dry sponge in water. Though Lord in many ways we do mourn the things we’ve lost and it is right to do so in so many aspects, Lord I ask that we wouldn’t stay there but that we would continue to use this time as an opportunity to seek the joy that surpasses understanding and comprehension to the world around us. Would we be a people marked by joy, by thanksgiving as we’ll hear about today from Psalm 30. Father, work in us a gratitude for all that we’ve been given by You both now and for all eternity and would we not wrongly crave the things we don’t have. We ask for contentment, a contentment that can only come from You. May we rest in you like a resting infant in her mother’s arms. Would You grant that to us as a gift to lighten the burdens we carry day in and day out, knowing that You love to give good gifts to Your children?
And now Lord we pray this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer for this Fourth Sunday of Pentecost:
Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.