God, you are an eternal God. A year has just flown by, and you were with each of us every second of the day. You knew our every thought. You related to us at every step. The enormity of your presence in the past year alone is impossible for us to comprehend. And 2017 was only one year out of an eternity for you.
We thank you that you were God Emmanuel, God with us, and we look forward to the day when we are not listening to the harps on the farther shore, but we are playing them, together, rejoicing in your name.
- We will rejoice at your nearness, at your majesty, at your beauty.
- Everything in this world eventually gets old to us in some way, but somehow you will never cease to amaze us. We marvel at your greatness to come.
God, while you have given us a path to not only enjoy you in heaven, but to enjoy you here, our hearts have sought lesser pleasures apart from you, rebelling against you.
We confess this week that we have
- Fought with our family, spouses, inlaws, parents, children and roommates
- We have not sought first to understand, but have instead sought to impose our way, even if subtly
- We confess that while we have received many gifts, we have not been generous with you
- We have grumbled when we have given our taxes, instead of praying that our taxes would be used well to help the poor
- We have only given out of our excesses instead of our margins.
- We have looked condescendingly on the homeless or others who have not measured up
- You have provided us with our every need, and yet we have worried about 2018 and beyond.
- We have worried about future school and career plans, our relationship status, and our children or childlessness
- As we wrestle with these real struggles, we pray that we would not turn to anxiety, but instead come to you with our open hearts.
- Lord, help us confess the following sins to you now: anger, jealousy, prayerlessness, lust, and impatience.
- Lord, would you please show us the peace that comes with trusting you and your commands, and how your way is the best way for us right now, that we might run in your path?
Father, we thank you that you happily forgive us with certainty.
And because you don’t hold our sins against us, we happily come to you to give you thanks.
- We thank you for bringing us through another year.
- We thank you for the sermon series in Philippians this year, and the series on the Five Solas, and how you used your Word every Sunday to change us one degree at a time.
- We thank you for Joey and Nathan, and how they have committed the prime of their lives to preach the Word to us.
- And we thank you for the churches many of us have visited over the holidays, as we traveled.
- It’s amazing how rapidly your churches have spread over the last century, and we praise you that we are not alone this Sunday in preaching your word.
- We pray for local churches that preach your Word nearby.
- Montrose Baptist in Rockville
- Franconia Baptist in Alexandria.
- We thank you for members you have brought to Restoration.
- We thank you for R and C.
- H, C and R.
- J and J
- We thank you for the Campus Outreach conference going on right now, and we pray that the words spoken at the conference would bear fruit, particularly in the lives of the four students from American University who attended.
Lord, You have given us so many reasons to be thankful, but we know you are generous, so we bring even more requests to you.
- We pray for those in our church.
- We pray for those morning the loss of family members or close friends this year. Would you be near to them in this season?
- We pray for those mothers who are caring for sick children during these long winter days. We pray that the mothers in our church would understand that their work caring for their children is no less important than the President’s work in your eyes. And we pray that we as a church would esteem the work of raising up children.
- We also pray for mothers juggling caring for children and work in the economy. Would you please sustain them in the difficult days?
- We pray for relationships in our congregation.
- We pray that we all would grow in appreciating each other. We pray that we would value each other just as you value us.
- We pray that we would be inconvenienced in some way this week to serve someone else in our church.
- In all our relationships here, we pray that in humility we would value others above ourselves.
Lord, we also pray for our world.
- We pray for those struggling with depression, both here today and in our communities.
- We pray for those who are struggling with chronic physical pain.
- We pray for poor churches serving poor communities in our country. We ask for your blessings on churches meeting in McDowell County, West Virginia and in the Navajo Nation in the southwest. We often feel overwhelmed at Restoration with all of our problems, but we pray for churches in these communities where broken families may be the norm.
- You show your care for good governance in scripture, so we pray for Zimbabwe and Iran. We pray that their governance would grow increasingly just in the coming year.
- And we pray for the Ends of the Earth: over 300,000 Kondah Dorah people in India. We pray that you would use the few hundred Christians in this group to reach their neighbors.
Finally, we come back to this church. Would you please:
- Move through us this morning as you bless us with the preaching of your Word?
We ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.