Heavenly Father, blessed Son, eternal Spirit, we adore you as one Being, one Essence, one God in three distinct Persons, for bringing sinners to your knowledge and your kingdom. Father, you have loved us and sent Jesus to us. Jesus you have loved us and assumed our nature, you shed your own blood to wash away our sins, you gave righteousness to cover our unworthiness; Oh, Holy Spirit, you have loved us and entered our hearts, you implanted eternal life into us, and revealed to us the everlasting and ever satisfying glory of Christ to us. Three Persons and one God, we bless you and praise you for love so undeserved, so unspeakable, so wonderful, to save the lost and bring them with you to glory.
Forgive us for the ways we have sinned against you this past week. Forgive us for being so forgetful. You have been so much better to us than we deserve. You are faithful in your commitment to us through our union with Christ. And yet we quickly forget all the wonderful gifts you have already given us, and we feel angry or bitter when you won’t answer our prayers in the way or time in which we want you to. Instead of remembering your deliverance and running to you daily as our shield of refuge, the anchor of our souls, we prefer to remain in bondage to our idols, because we love our sins and it seems too hard to fight against them. We doubt your goodness and power many times each day and resent the race of obedience you call us to run. Father forgive us.
Forgive us for our anger. We have said things this week and done things towards co-workers, family members, friends, and spouses that are not becoming of the Gospel of Christ. Help us to see the root of this anger and the ways we are attempting to be god ourselves and have others bend to our will. Forgive us for the times we used our tongues to revile and slander when we felt as though we deserved to do speak harshly to others. Remind us of the power and the pattern of your Son who NEVER returned revile for revile, but instead entrusted to you who judges justly.
Father forgive us for the ways we were fearful this week. Fearful in speaking up for Christ…fearful to speak Christ to others…fearful with our finances, our jobs, our lives, our futures. Remind us that fear is no different than doubting your good purposes for us. You tell us that we have nothing to fear.
And you tell us that because of the Sufficiency of the Gospel! For we who have died to ourselves, our wills, our ambitions, and taken up yours, trusting in the sin atoning death of Christ for our sin and the life-imparting resurrection…we have been born again. You have wiped our slate clean. Though we sin, grace abounds all the more!
By the power of your Spirit and our faith in Christ, the Gospel slays sin at its root and therefore nullifies sin’s power over me. Your forgiveness liberates me from sin’s power because it liberates me from sin’s guilt. What a glorious consideration it is to consider we never have to do a moment’s labor to gain or maintain our justified status before you, Lord! We have been freed from the guilt of sin through our faith in Christ, and our enemies or THE enemy can do nothing to change that. Hallelujah!
So, with the burden of guilt off our backs we can now use our energy towards pursuing an everlasting gladness in your glory and the good of our neighbors in that gladness.
Give D and C, J, J and L, C, B, D and P, as well as R and S, give them generosity with this good news this week. Remind them that you have granted them NOT a spirit of fear but of power and that from you God!
Grant new believers to fill up the baptismal waters of our church this year. May we see 5, 10 people trust Christ for the first time. Do the same for the other Gospel-believing churches of our city. May we be on the front lines of watching the Gospel sweep through Washington, DC and change individual lives, change marriages, change entire families and communities for the exaltation of your Name!
Supply food for the hungry that need it. Bring food and water to the people of Haiti, Uganda, Djibouti, Somalia, and Ethiopia. May the hands that bring it be ambassadors of your Kingdom, God. And may they testify to the Bread of life…yes, may church plants rise up from the ashes of the poor and neglected of our world. And may they teach us all that if you have Christ you have everything you need.
Finally, Lord, in advance of the preaching of your word, we plead with you that you would make our joy complete as a church. Cause love to abound in us, more and more in 2017, with knowledge and all discernment so that we might approve what is excellent and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ Jesus. Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Christ to the praise and glory of you, Father.
We are simple, weak vessels, Lord. Standing at the fountain, begging you to fill us up that we may love and forgive as you have done for us because we believe that this is the Good Life. Ready us to receive you, the water of your word Father. Amen