Father, your glory urges us to praise you! You are exceedingly holy, and your goodness is without bounds. You are just, and you are truth. You were before the world was, and you will be after the world as we know it will be no longer.
Father, we praise you because in the Gospel you accomplished justice. We are evil and rebellious from our mothers’ wombs. Even though we know the truth about your glory, we turn away and give that glory to created images. And that rightly offends you, and that rightly cries out for justice. And in the Gospel you accomplished justice in that Jesus bore the punishment for your people’s sins.
Father, we praise you because in the Gospel you loved. You loved us enough to give your one and only Son for us. We were not of the same nature, nor did we like you; we actually hated you because we weren’t like you and because you wouldn’t give us what we wanted. And yet, you loved us! You sent your Son to bear our punishment so that we may share in your glory.
Father, we praise you because in the Gospel you defeated evil through good and because you used what we despise as weakness to shame the powers of this world and to raise Jesus from the dead and seat him to his rightful place.
And how amazing is Jesus! He left His throne above to live the life of a servant, be rejected and died the death we deserved. “Worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (Rev 5:12)
We confess that we didn’t want to see your glory, that we didn’t seek it and that when we sought it we did so for our own purposes. Father, your glory is difficult for us to see and bear because it offends our own ambitions for greatness, especially in a city like ours.
Your glory is too weak for us, too gentle, too patient and too much about things other than us. We replaced your glory by man-made glory – educational degrees, prize spouses, prize children, bank accounts, clothing, cars, jobs, houses, big contracts we worked on, intelligence, and abilities. We didn’t take pride in you, the giver of life, but in your gifts. We suppressed the truth about who you are and who we are into a lie and created false “realities” in our image, illusions and delusions in which our importance, our role and our selves are magnified.
Father, forgive us in our neglecting your people, the church, to promote the glory of human kings and queens. The Son of Man is going to come on the clouds of heaven and we have spent time building up human kingdoms! Have mercy on us!
Father forgive us for our rebellion and transform our hearts to long for your glory.
And we thank you for your forgiveness and grace. You have given us awareness of sin, faith to repent, and forgiveness in Jesus. You have given us the Word to transform us. You are constantly at work in our hearts and in the world to advance your kingdom. We thank you for the Reformation, and we thank you for your Word which we can read in our own languages. We thank you for all the good things we have received over the last five hundred years in terms of theology and church polity.
Father, we ask for faith and eyes to see your glory for what it is. Help us not be allured by the glory of man, but be constantly thirsting for your glory. Help us live with the hope of seeing and enjoying your glory rather than human illusions of what a good life looks life.
We pray that we would remember your past works and the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us. Help us “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:1-2).
To your Name alone be glory, now and forever, Amen.