Our Prayer

Opening Praise

Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you
as the day rises to meet the sun.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

We rise to our feet, and stand to bless You
Omnipotent, You are,
Your main mark is faithfulness, ready to stay with those who are hurt.
Because of You in our lives,
we can be our true self -
the new person;
to be the faithful church -
a genuine, humane community,
that can overcome greed and fear,
can “come home with shouts of joy” (Ps. 126:6).

Our Life with God

Father,
when we sin against you
You purchased us by Your death on the cross.
You found us sitting on the dung heap. (Phi 3:8 Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
By Your grace,
You clothe us in kingly robes
make us sit at Your table. (Keller)

BUT
We drift - we keep drifting toward loving the world. (Heb 2:1)
Oftentimes, we don’t even put up a fight against the world. (Haggai 1:4)
We are even attracted to human wisdom and superficial glamour
instead of paying full attention to You. (Heb 2:1)
Rather drinking the waters that will quench,
we continue our crazy attempts to find worldly security.
Instead of ruling this world, we have let the world rule us.
We become convinced that the world is our ultimate threat and that Your function is to offset it.
In place of Your holy fear,
we live under the fear of the Principalities, The Rulers and The Powers of this dark world and
spiritual forces of evil. (Eph 6:12)
Then we expect You to balance our worldly stress,
reducing You equal to the world or less. (WD Eisenhower)

BUT
You are a forgiving God, gracious and merciful, slow to anger.
You have not abandoned us.
You continue to guide, to provide.
You give… so that we have homes, families, health… and wealth.
We eat until we are full. We even grow fat.

BUT
despite,
we turn our backs on your Law. (Neh 9)
We put our own prosperity above Your house.
Instead of denying ourselves, (Mat 16:24)
We want to rule our lives.
Instead of trusting You that You will not leave or forsake us, (Heb 13:5))
we proudly rely on ourselves to pursue comfort and security of the world.

BUT
you are a forgiving God, gracious and merciful, slow to anger.
You discipline us for what we do.
We cry to You.
You hear.
You rescue again.

BUT
as soon as we are at peace, we sin again.
We claim to be Christians
but without letting You into our lives.
We are seasoned church members
but refuse to be transformed by the Holy Spirit,
Ask for forgiveness from a consuming fire
but do not repent,
Receive salvation
without working hard to grow and mature, to the measure of Christ (Eph 4:13)
Look forward to heaven
without pondering about the horror of hell and Your wrath.

How terrible it will be
if you will leave your throne in heaven, tramples the heights of the earth:
to come accuse us of our sins (Micah 1:2-5)
Lord, let not the terrible words of Revelation “Yet still they did not repent.” be spoken of us. (Rev 9:20)

Confession and repentance

Rebuke us,
but not in your anger, lest we become nothing. (Jer 10:24)
Soften our hearts with your grace,
that we may readily come to You for forgiveness,
that we will earnestly practice repentance.
Have compassion on us.
trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! (Mic 7:19-20)

Father, Your purpose is to save, not to judge. (1Thess 5:9–10)
Would You Forgive us
as you delight in showing Your mercy. (Mic 7:19-20)
If we stand, let us stand on your promise;
If we fall, let us fall on your grace. (Rich Mulins)
Give us back the joy we had when you saved us.
Sustain us with a willing heart to obey. (Ps 51:12)

You are just. You discipline us by giving only what we deserved because of our sins. (Neh 9:33)
12-month social unrest, hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 deaths
empty us of our pride
dispel the illusion that we can rule, that we can save ourselves.
Now, we see that we are not in control of our lives. And we never were.
Our righteousness is like a filthy rag. (Isa 64:6)
We can only come to you in brokenness – in total nothingness. (Lloyd-Jones)
But it is Your nature to make something out of nothing (Luther) -
    You created the universe out of nothing.
    You give life to the lifeless.
When we become nothing, poor in spirit, You can fill us with You and Your grace. (Matt. 5:3)
Have mercy on us – quench the thirst of our souls, forgive, heal and restore.

Conversion

But do not waste our misery and grief.
Use them to purify us.
Render our mouths tasteless for the bait of Satan.
Cut the roots of our pride, our unjust ways.
Grant the capacity of outrage when we belittle your glory.
Open our eyes to see and savor the beauty of Christ. (Piper)

Stop our mindless preoccupation of the world.
Don’t let us domesticate You -
reduce You to whatever we feel comfortable with.
Teach us a clear understanding of who You are -
Not just a fuzzy image of God – compromised, romantic -
Like Mary, who mistook You as a gardener.
Like Cleopas and his friend, walked and talked 7 miles with You, without recognizing You.
They had no idea they were discussing the scripture with the Word made flesh.

Father, would you help us become so familiar with your word
that we will no longer be immature like children,
tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching;
influenced by lies that sound like the truth. (Eph 4:14)
Let Your word not just come to our understanding,
but enter our hearts, penetrate our soul, transform our lives.

Help us not fall asleep, like your disciples in Gethsemane. (Piper)
But keep us awake,
like the wise virgins with oil in their lamps, on the watch,
praying for ourselves and the world with Your son.

Help us become so familiar with your presence
that thoughts of you consume all our waking moments
that the holy fear of you brings us to worship.
Then even our smallest actions will speak of you. (William Booth)
We can invest our bodies in the hurt of the world,
Be the salt and light as you send us into the midst of wolves (Matt. 10:16).
Bear witness to Your steadfast love.

Give us one heart, one purpose:
to always honor and worship You,
for our own good, and for the good of our children.
Make an everlasting covenant with us that You will stick with us no matter what,
and You will never stop doing good for us.
Fill our hearts with a deep respect for You,
put a desire in us to worship you,
so we will not even think of turning away from You. (Jer 32:39-40)

If you ask, “Are you willing to lose everything to gain my fellowship?”
Help us say yes. And not leave in sadness.

Finale

Father, we are indeed travelling on the Road to Jericho.
Would You turn this into the Road to Emmaus.
Then You can teach us Your word, and set our hearts on fire? (Luke 24:32)
Would You turn this into the Road to Damascus.
So that you will heal our blindness and we can see You?
Light of the world, lead us.
The night is dark, and we are far from home.

Finish then thy new creation, Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see thy great salvation, Perfectly restored in thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee,
Lost in wonder, love and Praise. (Love Divine Love Excelling)

In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

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