Pastoral Prayer - In All Things, Jesus

Lord Jesus Christ,
You invite us into life, into new creation, into fellowship with You through union with Yourself.

In this season when we celebrate Your resurrection, we are especially mindful that You are our Risen Savior, present tense. It is not simply that You were once raised, that there is some historical event (although there was) that gives us impersonal benefits. While You rose on that day two thousand years ago, You are now the Risen Son, sitting at the right hand of the Father. When we come to You, it is not in pursuit of some list of abstract blessings. We come to You; we are joined to You, Jesus, and it is in knowing and experiencing our connection with You that we are blessed.

Teach us as Your people to see and savor You, Jesus Christ. We are so easily distracted by other things. We can be distracted from You by the false promises of sin, the lies of this world that glitter in the shadows but in the light are nothing but loss. We can also be distracted from You by the things You offer. The trappings of religion, the urgency of the work of the kingdom, even the benefits of the gospel, while all good things, are worthless if they are not connected to You as their source. Give us hearts that delight in Your presence, spirits that rest securely in Your love, and minds that seek to know and understand You as their highest aim.

Jesus, as You give us Yourself, so also be at work in our communities. Show Yourself to the watching world through us. So manifest Yourself in us as Your church, Your body, that in seeing our mutual love and radical obedience in our midst, the world in fact sees You. So enrapture our hearts and empower our speech that when we speak, it is as Your mouthpieces. Make us ambassadors for the good news of Jesus Christ, the good news that is Jesus Christ, that You might in us be glorified.

We pray also for those who weigh heavily on our hearts. There are so many things they need – comfort, hope, healing, truth, strength in their struggles and light in their darkness. We ask that You would provide all of these things for them. Yet in these requests, and over all of them, we pray that You would give each of those in need Yourself. Draw them to know You in the grace of Your cross and the power of Your resurrection. Place Your Spirit in their hearts and make Yourself visible to them through the fellowship of Your people.

Give them, and give us, Yourself, Jesus. That is the prize of true worth.