A few months ago, I was introduced to the “Pastoral Prayer”. It’s a prayer of a pastor for the people of the church. It’s personal, direct, and purposeful. Charles Spurgeon’s pastoral prayers are recorded in his book, The Pastor in Prayer.
As soon as I heard of the pastoral prayer, I knew it was something I wanted to do in our Sunday gatherings. Too often prayer is used as a transitional piece. It helps move to the next song or bring the next person onto the stage. This is not how the early church saw prayer. They believed in the power of prayer and approached the throne of Christ with confidence.
As we resumed our in person gatherings, I knew this would be a great time to introduce the pastoral prayer. I’ll record them here weekly as a reminder of the importance of prayer in the local church.
Gathered together to draw near to the throne of grace
Sunday, June 21st
Sermon Text: Ephesians 2
This prayer is from the first Sunday our church was back together again after the COVID-19 stay at home order.
Almighty Father God in heaven, with confidence we draw near to your throne of grace this morning (Hebrews 4:16). We come to you as your children, brought into your family by the sufficient, substitutional, and atoning sacrifice of your only Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-15). We have been sealed with the promise of eternal life by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). We stand before you now eternally thankful for the redeeming work of of salvation and for the forgiveness of our sins. We come to you today to glorify your name and to find rest for our souls. (Matthew 11:28-29; Hebrews 4:11)
We praise you Lord for your provision. You have been our refuge and our strength. You have been a present help to us in our troubles (Psalm 46:1). We have seen your incredible works (Psalm 46:8) and now, we sit at your feet and know that you are God. We will exalt your name to the heavens and praise your name through out the earth (Psalm 46:10). Oh Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1)
We come as your children, asking you to awaken our hearts to the joy of our salvation. Create in us a clean heart. Renew our spirits with the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Forgive us for our sins against you. (Psalm 51) You have called us to be holy because you God are holy (1 Peter 1:16) so today we confess our sins to you and we ask that you expose any wickedness in our hearts (Psalm 139:24). We confess knowing that you are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
We praise you God for intervening on our behalf and bringing us together again. We gather as your people, the church of Jesus Christ your Son, the One who has promised to build his church (Matthew 16:18) and make us his prized possession (Ephesians 2:10). May we learn the joy of being in your presence with the people of God, learning to never forsake when we gather together (Hebrews 10:25).
We pray for those who are not gathered with us today. Give rest to those who are vacationing (Genesis 2:3; Mark 2:27). Give strength to those who are working (Psalm 90:17). Encourage those who are not with us today out of the abundance of caution. May they know they are loved. I pray soon that they will be joined together with us.
We thank you Father for your true and sufficient Words found in the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17). As we prepare to read and listen to your Word today, we ask you Holy Spirit to pierce our hearts and draw our eyes to the wanders of Jesus (Ephesians 6:17). We ask you Lord to give us a passion and love for your Word. Help us to store it in our hearts so that we will not sin against you (Psalm 119:11). Help us to boldly hold to the teachings of Scripture and fervently observe your commands with our whole heart (Psalm 119:34).
Oh Lord our God, you Lord our one. Help us dear Lord to love you, our God, with our whole heart, with our whole soul, and with all our might (Deuteronomy 6:5). Turn our eyes from looking at worthless things, and give us life in your ways (Psalm 119:27). We acknowledge the worthless idols we look to and seek after do not love us and our love for them is empty and fleeting. You, Lord, reign eternally showering us with your love and grace.
We pray for every child in this room today. Help us to diligently teach them the truths of your Word and the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 6:7). I plead with you God to save their sinful hearts. Holy Spirit will you soften their hearts to see their sin against you and the grace found in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection. Help us to be patient with them today. Help us to see this as an opportunity to bring them to Jesus and not to push them away. God I pray that you will raise up God fearing Christ followers out of our KidLife. Send them out as missionaries, church planters, pastors, and may they all be disciple makers where ever you lead them (Matthew 28:18-20)
We pray now for our fathers. Today, we celebrate who they are and all they do for us. I ask that you strengthen them and sue them. Help them to lead their family well. To love their spouse with a Christ-like love and to represent you, our heavenly Father (Ephesians 5:25; 6:1). Holy Spirit, continue to use the men in our church to be a catalyst for the gospel in their homes, at work, and around the world.
Father I pray that we will be united in the days and weeks to come (John 17:20). Keep our enemy from dividing us against you and our brothers and sisters in Christ. You have called us to a holy work, to be your ambassadors to the lost around us. You are using us Holy Spirit to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and to call sinners to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20). We know Lord Jesus that you have promised to build your church and the gates of hell will not overpower it. So Jesus, build us. Build is into a strong people committed to your mission of making disciples. Committed to your Holy Word. Committed to one another. Committed to the glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 16:18)
May our hearts be overwhelmed by your glorious gospel that has brought us out of darkness and from the shadow of death, and has burst the bonds of our sin a part through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Psalm 107:14). You are the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and at your name every knee will bow and tongue will confess that you are Lord over all (Philippians 2:10-11). May we proclaim your name to all people and it is through your precious name we pray. Amen.