Pastoral Prayer - Christ's Sufficiency, God's Glory
We chase after so many things. Worldly security. The rush of pleasure when we acquire some new item. Human validation. Our own works of righteousness by which we prop ourselves up. Money. A deadness that keeps us from knowing our own inadequacy. Father, our hearts are factories of idols.
We pray in the face of this idolatry that You would hold before our eyes the blazing, all-consuming sufficiency of Jesus’s work and Your glory.
In the face of all the pain that we experience in this world, in the face of the costly calling of true discipleship, in the face of persecution and the loss of all things, teach us the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Remind us of the majesty of His work on our behalf. Our works are as dirty rags, but by the blood of Jesus we stand pure and spotless before You, and by His resurrection, hearts that were dead are being made alive. As we are united with Him, we reign with Him, we have an eternal inheritance, and we are made into Your children, members of the household of God.
In the face of all the lies this world tells us, in the face of its fleeting pleasures and whispered discouragements, in the face of our rebellion-prone and self-righteous hearts, teach us to long only for Your glory. Let us not turn aside to worldly purposes, whether those of self-serving rebellion or self-serving religion. Lead us on the sweet path of self-forgetfulness, that we may decrease and You may increase and so we may find our fullness in Your greatness. Teach us to long for Your glory alone, and so let us enjoy You forever.
We pray this not just for ourselves but for Your church in the world, especially here in the country where you have placed us. We confess that our nation’s god is the self, and Your church has often perverted the name of Christ to serve this our true god. Forgive us, chastise us as is necessary, but in Your mercy restore us. Bring to us gospel renewal, speaking to us of the salvation we have in Jesus alone, teaching us to repent of good works and to place our hope in Him. As we are so revived, may we be agents of love to the surrounding world, seeing in the good of our neighbors an opportunity to seek Your glory.
Father, we remember in particular this morning:
· Those laboring to build up your church. Be with its elders, with its evangelists, with those engaged in foreign and domestic missions, and those seeking to raise up the next generation to serve Your name.
· Those ruling over us. Restrain the evil of worldly powers and let them govern in a way that is wise, just, and allows us to live lives laboring for Your name.
· Those far from You, especially those who feel far off from grief or sickness. Remind them that, while our circumstances are dark, Jesus Christ has come as the light of the world and that in the end these shadowed lands will give way to the burning kingdom of His light. Make this our hope.
We pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, who is of surpassing worth.