Pastoral Prayer - Heard In Jesus
It is a remarkable thing that you hear us when we pray. You are greater than us. You are the Creator; we are but creatures. You are eternal; we are prone to change. You need nothing, we come to you as needy men and women.
It is even more remarkable because of our sin. We have all rebelled against You. We have all gone astray. Yet you respond to our rebellion with a love that chases after us. You made Yourself known in the life of Jesus Christ. You paid for our sins in His death. You offer us new life in His resurrection and in Your Holy Spirit dwelling in us. In Your love You have drawn near to us, even though we don't deserve it, even though what we deserve is for You to cast us away.
Thank You, Father, for this unshakeable love. We have nothing to give You which You do not already own. We have nothing to do which You could not work Yourself in Your almighty power. Your love is a gift, and for that free gift we give You thanks.
Even as we don't deserve to be heard, we rejoice that in Jesus You do hear us. You listen to our prayers because, through Him, we have been made sons and daughters in Your family. You bid us approach the throne of grace, and so we confidently come, knowing You hear us as surely as You heard Him, and even more, knowing He intercedes with us and for us before Your throne. With this confidence we draw near and make our requests known to You.
We pray for Your church in this world. We are a ragtag band of misfits and sinners, viewed with the eyes of this age. We struggle within and we are beset by challenges from without. Yet You promise that You will build Your church, and this is a promise we believe. Protect and grow Your people. Feed and nourish us and teach us to be lights in the places You have placed us. Let our light shine in our communities, showing the strength of Your love and proclaiming the good news of what Jesus has done. Make us more and more into the city of heaven, the bride of Christ, and the temple of the living God.
We pray for our neighbors. We think of those lost in pain and sorrow, whether because of this broken world or of their own broken choices. We pray that You would bring healing to them, that You would speak Your love to them, and that we might be Your hands and feet and mouth as You do this work.
We pray for ourselves. Many of us are in the middle of pain and sorrow as well. Bring healing and comfort to us and sustain us as we seek to follow You. Teach us all the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ and make that our greatest ambition and highest hope. Turn us from our sins and draw us onward in the path of righteousness.
We pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, by whose blood we confidently come.