Pastoral Prayers - The Power of Our Petitions

Below is the pastoral prayer for this Sunday. You can find past prayers here.

Sovereign Lord,
This world is not as it should be. You call us to work for its healing, but even more you call us to pray. In our prayers just as in our labors we are carrying out a holy vocation, asking You to work through them to bring healing and change.

Father, you instruct us to pray for those in authority over us, for those who govern and hold power in this world. We pray that You would grant them to govern justly and wisely, that we might be able to live fruitful lives and be able to serve You in our cities and neighborhoods. Lead them toward righteousness and equity in their rulings, reminding them that all authority comes from You alone and that it is You they are called to serve. Give them repentance when they err and humility as they rule and help us to honor and appreciate them appropriately.

You instruct us to pray for Your church. It is so easy, in our critical age, to notice only what is wrong in your people – the half-heartedness, the lack of discipleship, the hypocrisy of some in authority. We do acknowledge these failings and pray that You would work to overcome them. Humble us, sanctify us, and remove those with influence who would use Your name for self-righteousness or selfish gain. Teach us to walk in true belief and submission to Your word, in true repentance turning from our sins and in true love and joy and hope.

Despite all these ways we fall short, we also give thanks for the beauty You nonetheless work in Your church. Thank You for lives transformed by the good news of God’s grace, for humble saints struggling daily to love You and their neighbors, for innumerable acts of kindness and mercy that show forth Your truth to the world. Let these good works arrest our gazes and shine like a beacon to the world.

You instruct us to pray for all humankind. Be with those who suffer under unjust governments, in broken societies, or under the yoke of poverty or the terror of war. Bring Your reign of righteousness and peace. Be with those who live in societies that persecute them for their beliefs or their class or their race. Uphold their cause and end all oppression. Be especially with Your church in the world, protecting those brothers and sisters in prison or otherwise suffering for Your name. Teach us to remember them in our prayers and to work for their release and protection.

Finally, You instruct us to pray for ourselves. We are children, asking You our Father to provide. Care for those we love who are sick. Bring healing where You will and use their suffering to draw them to Yourself. Care for us as we are burdened with the griefs of life. Hear us in our discouragements and anxieties. As we walk in faith, so let it teach us to hope in all things so that we might persevere in love in the present, knowing that beyond the shadows lies the land of Your glorious light.

Lord, we pray all of these things knowing that You hear them. While You are sovereign and work all things according to Your will, the wonderful truth is that You ordain to use prayers like these to do mighty things. Work through these our petitions, moving by the power of Your Holy Spirit to bring more and more Your reign of peace to our world.

We pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, on whose merit we dare to approach Your throne.