Almost every Sunday morning I offer up prayer for myself and eleven other pastors who are my very dear friends, and, for our congregations, as we gather to worship Father, Son, and Spirit. I frequently try to turn Scripture into encouragement and prayer.
The following is my prayer for tomorrow's gatherings, written by borrowing and slightly adjusting the words from Asaph's 77th song, while adding a few of my own.
In the spirit of Asaph, we pray…
Father, this morning, we cry out to you for help;
we cry out to you, please hear us.
This makes sense, for when we are in distress, we seek you;
we stretch out untiring hands,
we remember you, and groan,
we meditate on you, though our spirits grow faint;
our hearts meditate, and our spirits ask as we prepare to minister this morning:
‘Has your unfailing love vanished forever?
Has your promise failed for all time?
Have you, our GOD, forgotten to be merciful?
Have you, in anger, withheld your compassion?’
But then, it dawns on us, ‘To this we will appeal:
all the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
O yes! we will remember the deeds of Yahweh;
we will remember your miracles of long ago.
we will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.’
What god is as great as our God!?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters of the Red Sea saw you, GOD,
and they writhed;
the very depths suffered convulsions.
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
You led your people like a flock,
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
By grace, your redemption plan was not finished with them.
You raised up a greater prophet from among them,
a prophet who would be your own Son.
The darkness saw him, and it writhed;
all wickedness suffered convulsions.
His path led through death,
his way through the darkness of separation from you,
and his footprints were not seen.
He has risen from the dead, and become our Great Shepherd,
leading your people like a flock,
Jesus, leading us by his hand.
He is the fulfillment of your unfailing love,
he is the guarantee of all your unfailing promises,
he is the bringer of your mercy,
and in him your compassion flows on us like a mighty river.
And in his name we now ask, O God,
stretch out your right hand for the sake of your people,
in the midst of our gatherings this morning.
Open our eyes to the beauty, majesty, and rescue, found in our Redeemer.
Yes, and very amen, in Jesus’ name.