Our Father in Heaven, we look to You,
Make Your name holy in our lives, and throughout the whole world. (The Lord’s Prayer, Ps123)
It is so good to be able to speak to You.
It is so good to be able to worship you together (song of ascent).
We are here to worship You. Thank you for waiting,
Time after time, you have waited for us. Time after time, we are not ready for You to enter our hearts.
We feel guilty, feel too ashamed to come. But you are here to welcome us with open arms.
We remember that You are good. You did not leave us to death.
Your will is not to punish, but to forgive and to love – to the point You went to the cross.
You were the first to reach out to us; first to begin this conversation, so that we can continue now.
You said, "Seek my face."
Our hearts say to you, " LORD, Your face, we seek." (Psalm 27:8 ESV)
So Quiet our minds
Still our hearts
We invite Your Holy Spirit to move freely among us.
Come into our hearts.
You are God, our God. You are the Truth.
The truth about us - is that You made and love us.
The truth about those sitting beside us - is that You made them and love them.
The truth about the world - is that You rule and provide for it.
The truth about what is wrong with the world - is that we have sinned; we refused to let You in.
The truth is: Your son, Jesus, was crucified on the cross for our sins, raised from the tomb for our salvation so that we can accept Your mercy, and respond to Your love.
So, help us not believe those lies = that we are nice and good, that we are self-sufficient.
Let us not believe = that the world is a pleasant, harmless place and can be our final true home.
Let us not believe = that if we are in chains now, it is someone’s fault.
We are determined to turn to You, [PAUSE] from complaining about how bad things are to pursue all things good in You. (Eugene Peterson Long Obedience on Ps 120.)
We confess that we are sinful by nature. We have all sinned, and come short of Your glory.
We should have remembered you as God, our Creator. We should stop, should rest, should be still to ponder about You, to enjoy Your Presence.
Yet our minds always wander and are always occupied - by work, by service, by ministry, but not by You.
Day after day, we go thru without noticing Your minute by minute guidance.
Places after places we visit without realizing your presence - not aware that you have been looking for us.
We meet people. But we do not remember that they are also the ones you have invited to your table.
Father God, our priorities are messed up.
They are often self-serving, because we are desperate to find life in situations and relationships.
Instead of being satisfied by You and the life you have given, we desperately search for identity, and that inner sense of well-being that everyone is after. (New Morning Mercy)
Lord we ask You to bind our wandering hearts.
While we tarry on this earth, keep us, in serious seeking after you; keep us in affectionate walking with you, in every day of our lives;
that when you come again, you will not find us hiding our talent, serving our flesh, or still sleeping with our lamps running out of oil,
But waiting and longing for you. (Richard Baxter)
Here're our hearts, Lord, take and seal them, for your sake and our sake.
PRAYING FOR OURSELVES
Father God, you know that we are fearful people. We are afraid of conflict, wars, uncertain future and illnesses.
This fear takes away our freedom and gives our society the power to manipulate us with threats and fake promises. (Henri Nouwen)
None of this should disturb us because you love us so much. Nothing - nothing living or dead, today or tomorrow, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between Your love and us. (Rom8:38-39)
So come, enter our hearts, touch us, set us on fire with your love, that we may become free and let go of all false, temporary worldly warmth and comfort. (Henri Nouwen)
PRAYING FOR GCC
GCC is a broken community. We depend on your grace. You have humbled us with many illnesses, losses and deaths. We find ourselves constantly mourning, praying for comfort and healing.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
We thank you for the gift of handicap. It keeps us in constant touch with our limitations. It allows us to learn to love and to bear each other’s burden. Thank you for the many warriors among us. They are living examples who demonstrate that You are real and faithful.
While the world teaches us to be able, strong, accomplished, self-sufficient; to enjoy success, security, comfort and respect; You have taught us to be meek, to be humble and to depend on You.
We pray that we will learn to be content with weaknesses, boast all the more gladly of our weaknesses for Your glory.
PRAYING FOR THE WORLD
God, we cry to You. We live in a world of chaos. We are trapped in fights and wars. Our home in Hong Kong looks prosperous on the outside, but poor inside. The world is restless, always spoiling for fights.
Countries are racing to invest more and more in weapons, aiming to sabotage, to kill, to destroy, to inflict pain.
No one seems to know how to live in healthy relationships. (Ps120)
Constantly the world is plagued with fear, loneliness, separation, homelessness, hunger, and tragic deaths.
We know the world wasn’t meant to be like this.
You know far better than we do, that the world wasn’t made for hatred and pain.
You knew us from the very beginning,
You breathed life into dust and called us very good.
And You actually lived here once!
Come see what the world has become. (Psalm 74:2-3 MSG)
If our hearts are breaking right now, surely your heart must be breaking too. (Gregory Coles)
God of heaven and earth, we ask you to intervene.
Yes, world peace also depends on us. You have called your Church to be peacemakers. So, we pray to you: Invade us with Your love and kindness for your people. Let your peace, righteousness and courage rule in our hearts. In the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, let us shine as lights in the world. (Philippians 2:15) Do it for your glory, Lord, and for the good of your people (John Piper on Is 55:10-11)
Ending of Supplication
We will need your presence on this long road.
The road between fear and hope,
the road between the place where all is lost and the place of resurrection.
Like the disciples walking the road to Emmaus,
we need your company! (Matt 18:20)
Among our brokenness, fear, frustrations
Thank you for being here with us.
We lay our lives before you.
We gladly surrender to you in worship and praise.
In the name of your son Jesus we pray. Amen.