Pastoral Prayer - The Great Judge

Lord God,
You are the great judge of all the earth. You judge mightily, and no man can stay your hand, no matter how powerful or rich or knowledgeable the might seem in this age. You judge truly, seeing through all deceit and pretense and double talk. You judge justly, Your decrees perfectly righteous and beautiful and true.

Father, bring that justice. We know that it will never be fully realized until You return, but by Your common grace and by the moving of Your Word we pray that You would grow it in our world. In the midst of a world of terroristic threats, a world of bitter rhetoric, a world of power abused and the poor crushed, we pray that Your justice would come. Give to those that rule wisdom and fairness, to those that serve them integrity and safety, to those that would do harm discipline and repentance, and to those that have been wounded by them healing and hope.

Father, give us these same hearts that rejoice in Your righteous decrees. Teach us to never replace the love You call us to with hollow external religion. Let us not come in assemblies and offerings which are to you a noisy emptiness. Instead, let Your justice roll down through us like water. Let Your righteousness stream out of us and into the world. You have shown us what is good – to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before You. May our lives be a testimony of Your work in us that, when we stand before Your throne, the fruit of Your Spirit might show forth as evidence of Your glory.

As You give us such hearts, also teach us, in the face of Your judgment, to long for Your mercy. In the course of justice, none of us should see salvation. None of us are only the victims of sin – all of us at times are also the perpetrators. All of us deserve condemnation. Show to us the ways we wrong others and give us hearts that are quick to confess and to hide themselves in Jesus Christ. In Him, Your justice and Your kindness meet. May He be our shelter and our plea as we stand before You on that day when You return to judge all that is evil in this world, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him now as we walk in it. It is in His great and good name we pray.