Pastoral Prayer - Incarnate Love

God of Lovingkindness,
You have loved us with an everlasting love. Before the world was made, You fixed your love upon us. You planned our salvation in Christ before our sin. You chose us before we chose you. You worked faith and repentance in our hearts, called us by Your Word and by the moving of Your Spirit, justified us because of what Jesus Christ had done. You continue to work in us now, covering our sins and working in us to sanctify us by Your Spirit. You will continue this work, carrying it on to completion in glory, where we will dwell forever within Your love.

Father, help us to recognize that this is true. We struggle to believe it for some many reasons. Our guilt makes us feel ashamed. Our sin warps our affections. Our fears cloud our vision. Our bitterness blinds us to our blessings. Our halfheartedness dulls our desires. There is much in us that keeps us from feeling the glorious weight of Your affection for us. Break through the shadows in our heart by the power of Your Spirit. Let us taste the transformative power of Your love for us.

Father, as we are loved, so teach us to love. Let Your goodness to us draw us to adore Your greatness. Teach us by Your love to love You. Let Your mercy and kindness draw us to show the same attributes to the world. Teach us by Your love to love others.

Help us in this Christmas season especially to recognize the love at work in Jesus Christ. What a thought, that You would leap down from Your heavenly throne and take on the humiliation of becoming one of Your creatures. Teach us in Your incarnation of the depths and the certainty of Your care for us. Teach us also in it how to carry Your presence to others, helping them to see Christ in the ways we care for them.

We pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Word made flesh, Your covenant faithfulness come as a human being,