Father, we gather here as your children resting in your mercy and grace. We come to you as your sons and daughters, bound together in and by Jesus Christ. We rejoice in who you are: holy, perfect, just, steadfast in love, eternally good. We rejoice in what you’ve done: You are the Creator and Redeemer. We hope in what you will do: Restoration us and all of creation back to the way it’s always meant to be: your people in your place enjoying your rule and blessing all for your glory and our gladness. Yes, Lord we come adoring you this morning.
And we come with broken hearts and weary souls. We look at the world and we lament. From the destruction of hurricanes in Houston, the Caribbean, and Florida. To the disgust of racism and systematic injustices preying on the already vulnerable. We lament, oh Lord. From the floods in India to the earthquake in Mexico. From the oppressive regime in North Korea to the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Iran, Laos, Sudan, and Somalia. We grieve the brokenness of this world.
We pray specifically for our brothers and sisters at Covenant Life Tampa and the Heights Church. Give them grace as they ready themselves to face Irma. Grant Justin and Drew much grace and wisdom as they lead their congregations through what lies ahead.
Holy Lord, do not let us become dull to the groans and pains of this world. Holy Spirit, stir us up in prayer. Remind us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” We appeal to your almighty throne this morning Lord. Bring comfort to the hurting, justice to the wicked, salvation to the lost, hope to the downcast.
We pray, O Lord, that your gospel continues to advance in this city and around the globe. We pray for Joel at Encounter Church in Columbia Heights, and for Greg and Dan at Veritas City Church in Georgetown, and Jon and Will at Mercy Hill Church in Waterfront. Use these churches to magnify your name. We pray for the Molero family as they continue to plant a church for Spanish-speakers. Advance your gospel, Lord. Raise up a Behdini church in Northern Iraq. Move among house churches in Northern Korea to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus Christ. Raise up men and women from this congregation to take the gospel to the unreached.
For the joy of Christ, continue to use the gospel to shape us as your people. Holy Spirit, convict us of our sin and comfort us with our Savior. Show us our immorality and impatience and greed and love of the world. We confess, O Lord, we confess that we have rebelled against you. We have been harsh with our spouse, selfishly angry with our children. With gossip and slander we have assaulted your imager bearers, even those we call brother and sister. We admit that we have found greater hope in a number in bank account than in being called your sons and daughters. We confess that we have found more joy in illicit, erotic media than in you. We repent. We confess our fear of man and hiding our sin and not being open and honest and vulnerable with others about our struggles. We repent of trying to portray ourselves as perfect and cheerful when our soul is weighed down with trails and temptations, sorrows and struggle.
Have mercy on us, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out our transgressions. Wash us thoroughly from our iniquity, and cleanse us from our sin!
We praise you that in Christ Jesus, this is what you have done. “For our sake You made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him, in Jesus, we might become the righteousness of God.” We praise you that Jesus is risen, reigning and returning soon.
Until then, Lord, use us. Use us to bring the hope of the gospel to each other; that we would eagerly serve the church body; that we would eagerly speak the hope and joy of Jesus to each other. This week as we fast and pray, do what only you can do – stir deep within us an increasing affection for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Take our prayers and use them to build up the body here at Restoration that we might display the glory of who you are. As we fast, remind us of the feast that we have in Jesus and the eternal feast that awaits us in heaven. Use this week, Lord to continue to build the unity and joy of our faith family here at Restoration Church.
This morning as our brother comes to preach the word, use it to transform us. This morning renew our minds that we might enjoy what you enjoy, love what you love. Holy Spirit, you can do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work in us – do this we ask, for the glory of Jesus Christ throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.