Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Prayer for the Persecuted Church

From 12/23/2009

Our Father and God, King of kings and Lord of all nations; we come before You now to beg Your mercy on our brothers and sisters who suffer persecution for Your name’s sake.

By Your decree the leaven of the gospel has spread to the farthest corners of the globe, penetrating enemy strongholds and inexorably working its way toward filling the whole earth. By Your Son’s death and resurrection, Baptized believers the world over share a covenant identity in You that knows no borders; for we are all of one bread and partake of one bread. By Your grace then, we ask You to show Yourself strong to save our persecuted brethren!

For Your name’s sake, overthrow the wicked governments that harass Your church in countries like China, Sudan, Burma, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Indonesia, Cuba, and Somalia. Cause their designs against Your saints to be brought to confusion, and thwart every attempt to prevent your Word from being proclaimed. Bring comfort and hope to Gao Zhisheng, and the hundreds of thousands of other faithful Christians who have been imprisoned and tortured for Your name’s sake. We cry out to You to set them free and restore them to their families! Each is worth more than many sparrows, and we pray that they may be freed to pursue still greater labors for Your kingdom.

We thank You Father, for sending Your Son into the world to save sinners the world over. We thank You for the assurance of Romans 8:28 that all things truly do work together for the good of those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. And we thank You for Your promise that those who are reviled and persecuted for Your name’s sake will receive a great reward in heaven. Comfort the persecuted church with these same promises.

We ask all these things in the strong name of Your incarnate Word, Who now lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God blessed forever; and Amen.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Humble Thanksgiving

From 11/22/2009

Father of all Grace,

We come before You with hearts full of gratitude for Your many blessings and Your mighty deeds. While this week of Thanksgiving often causes us to pause and reflect on the good gifts that You give to Your children, it also serves to remind us of our tendency toward ingratitude at other times of the Year. Help us to be grateful for the small things, that we may be better prepared to savor Your great blessings; and guard us from the temptation to get this principle backwards. Just as children learn first to “Thank You for this day” and “Thank You for this food”, teach us to say “Thank You, Lord, for turkey and dressing, and for wine to gladden our hearts”. And give us the humility to take Your Word seriously enough to give thanks in all things; like, “Thank You for my kids’ runny noses and need for frequent spankings.” For only then can we begin to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of Christ’s love. And of course we do thank You for these great gifts as well; for Your grace which is poured out on us abundantly in every spiritual blessing, for the certainty of Your promise to work all things together for the good of Your people, and for the joy and fellowship of the communion table You have laid out before us. Truly You are good all the time!