Father God, you are the One who is. When Moses asked you for your name you said “I am.” You are and nothing is except as you have ordained. You are truth, and you are love. Truth and love are defined by you and you alone.
Father, we praise you because of your speaking the truth and of your love. We praise you because everything you do is good and lovely. We praise you because in you there is no lie and no evil. We praise you because you do not manipulate, and you do not pretend. We praise you because you are angry and because you are fuming against evil and hatred. We praise you because you are good even in your anger and especially in your anger. We praise you because you are merciful and because you forgive the repentant sinner. We praise you because you absorbed the punishment for sin in yourself, because you quenched the fury and the wrath with your own son. We praise you that you are building your kingdom and that you are bringing back the Son of Man to rule over it.
We praise you that you revealed the Son of Man to us. He is the Word, who was with you, who is God and who was in the beginning with God.
We are thankful that you sent the Word to be the Light to us, to enlighten us, and to reveal you to us. He became flesh like us, but without sin. He lived a righteous life, unlike us. He bore our sin on the cross so that you may be glorified, your anger satisfied and our sin forgiven.
Father, Jesus spoke the truth and he loved his neighbor. He didn’t look to the color of the skin, or to the multitude of sins. He didn’t beat his breast looking down on his neighbor. He didn’t lash out in fear, trying to destroy his neighbor. He was angry, but he was loving in his anger. When people loved him because of the bread he gave them, he didn’t give in to their base desires but preached your righteousness and didn’t entrust himself to them.
Father, we loved him because he could feed the crowds and heal the sick. But we despised him for his appearance, for his homelessness, and for his weakness. We hated him because he showed us we were not concerned with your justice and righteousness, but with our own justice and selfishness. We hated him because he showed us that our truth was a lie. We hated him because he called us to unconditional repentance and submission.
Father, our hearts keep pushing and pulling us away from you. Even this week we were proud and selfish. We forgot Jesus and we thought of ourselves more moral and higher than our neighbors. Unlike Jesus, we thought of protecting our interests at the expense of your truth and of the interests of our neighbors. We forgot to pray to you and found safety in the people around us, in the busyness of life, or in the strength of our human wisdom. We didn’t read your word but saturated ourselves with other people’s opinions who told us what we wanted to hear.
Forgive us our sin Lord, our turning away from you, and have mercy on us. Turn our hearts to you and soften them to your word.
We thank you because we know that in Jesus we are forgiven, and we will receive grace. We thank you that you have not left us to our own devices but have given us your Holy Spirit, and that you control our circumstances to shape our lives to your will. We are grateful that you, the one in which there is no deceit and no lie, are in control of our lives and not our treacherous hearts. We thank you that you gave us your Word to help keep our way pure and to transform our hearts.
Father we pray for transformation. We pray that you transform our hearts to long for your Word as revealed in the Scriptures. We pray that you do not allow us to wonder from your commandments. We pray that we would love your Word, preach it to ourselves, sing it and tell of it to other people.
Father, we are disturbed, saddened and angry at the display of racism and bigotry in this country. Please, have mercy on this country! Father, remove all hatred, racism and bigotry from this country. Have mercy on this country and shine a light on the hearts of people from all races and backgrounds. Show our country the foolishness of doing what is right in one’s own eyes, and the wisdom of relying on your Word. Empower the people of this country to love one another as opposed to hate one another. Give wisdom to our leaders to act and speak in a loving, just, and peace-making way.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.