Pastoral Prayers 11-15
by Ed Vasicek
Dear God and Father,
How beautiful it is that You favor us. You are predisposed toward us because we are in Jesus. We have not earned or deserved this status; we stand by grace. Not only do You favor us, hear us, and bless us, You have sent Your Spirit into our hearts, and He cries out "Abba, Father."
He pours out Your love into our hearts so that we sense Your love for us; through Your Spirit, we find a perennial well of love within. You help us obey the two Great Commandments to love You and love others by giving us a bountiful supply of love to distribute. Help us share with others the love of Jesus given by the Spirit.
Father, we have some burdens on our hearts. We silently commit them to You now.
(A few moments for silent prayer.)
Lord, we are a work in progress. Progress is often slower than we prefer. While it is good and right for us to confess our sins and admit our faults, sometimes we substitute admission for growth. We feel bad about our sins and failings but will not take the steps necessary to correct them.
Lord, You have an agenda for our growth. Much of that agenda is beyond our control, and we often detest the curriculum which includes heartaches, tragedies, losses, medical conditions, and disappointments to name a few. They can easily overwhelm us. But You know what You are doing, even though we may not know what You are doing. We wonder, but we choose to take Your hand and trust You. We know that trials strengthen our faith, but we do not appreciate the concept. Yet Your Word reassures us that the trying of our faith is part of the growth process.
Lord, part of the agenda for our growth involves choices we make. When we see our spiritual immaturity and mourn it, or we see the sin in our lives and detest it, that is only a starting point. We need the steady nurture of Your Word applied by Your Spirit. We prefer an instant fix, a zap, an immediate transformation. Many of us -- although not all of us -- experienced a great, noticeable change of behavior at our conversions and expect the rest of the Christian life to continue to be a series of leaps upward. In reality, it is a gradual crawl, sometimes with three steps forward and two back.
We prefer something real and lasting, the strong, steady, the gradual growth that comes from renewing our minds in the Word of God. As the Word enters our ears or eyes and is processed in our minds, we are in a position to meditate upon it and let it enter our hearts. We become doers of the Word, and we find ourselves reasoning and thinking thoughts that are pleasing to You. Through the Word, the Spirit transforms us into the image of Your Son. And, our prayer is that we leave a track record of faithful service to You.
So today, Lord, transform us in a small way by Your Word. And allow those small transformations to take us past spiritual thresholds and accumulate into major changes in our lives, changes that honor You. We come now to engage our souls.
Bless the Word to our hearts today, we pray, in Jesus' Name, Amen.
Pastoral Prayer #12
By Ed Vasicek
We are always living in changing times. While times seem peaceful, changes are quietly forming in the background. When change explodes on the scene, more changes will follow, in time.
We thank You, our God, that You do not change. You are truly the Rock that we can cling to in a tumultuous sea. Fads, social movements, relational distress, depression, plagues, famines, war, disaster – these and so many other things shake us up and move us. Thank You, that through a vibrant faith in Jesus Christ, we are firmly anchored to You, our Rock.
Lord, we need Your discernment and wisdom. We have choices to make, some we never thought we would be forced to make. We struggle to know Your will sometimes: please make it as clear as it needs to be for us to walk aright.
Sometimes, we know Your will, but struggle to do it. It is easy for us to rationalize and perhaps make cloudy what Your Word reveals clearly. Keep us from playing these sorts of games. Keep us honest with You, the intended meaning of Your Word, ourselves, and others. We are prone to lie or manipulate the truth; help us to love the truth instead.
We thank You, O God, that Your Kingdom is bigger than our little worlds. Help us to participate in the greater Kingdom of God as we encourage, support, and pray for our missionaries. Help us remember that Your Kingdom on earth will always be smaller than our society, but our Kingdom is eternal. The world will pass away. Help us regularly visit with You, our King. You invite us to come just as we are.
We pray for our president, legislators, judges, and state and local governments, that we might be able to live peaceably and practice our faith both as we gather and as we live throughout the week. We pray for our nation, state, county, and community. May Your Spirit draw men, women, and young people to Yourself. Use us, we pray, to reach and deepen them in their faith.
Bless our time together. Renew us and build us up in the most holy faith of the Bible as a result of our efforts, coupled with Your Spirit’s work, this morning.
We pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Pastoral Prayer #13
By Ed Vasicek
We are so grateful that You care about each one of us and all our needs. Your focus is not diminished when more and more people address You. Unlike created beings like ourselves, You attention is never divided.
Lord, we are often confused in our interpretation of life. When you send trials, we do not always know if you are discipling us, developing us, or both. Whatever our lot, we know we are constant recipients of Your sustaining grace. We always need Your grace for each breath we draw, but sometimes we are painfully aware of how much we need Your grace, Your support, Your energy, Your help, and Your wisdom.
Lord, You are complete in Yourself. You have left us on earth, not because You need us, but because You have a purpose for us. We are here to glorify You by loving You and loving our neighbor. You want us to be conduits of Your love to others. . One great act of love is to share the saving message of the Gospel. You want us to do all to Your glory.
Lord, we are complete in Christ. Although some of us struggle with feeling their must be more or that there is some new spiritual secret to discover, the truth is that when we have Jesus Christ we have it all. The longing we feel is a longing for heaven. The more we allow Jesus Christ to be Lord of our lives, the larger the taste of heaven we experience now. But, like Paul, we know that “to depart and be with Christ is much better.” Don’t remove our longing for heaven, but please don’t allow us to become deaf to that longing with the world’s noise.
Lord, we have some personal concerns we bring before you silently:
We pray, O Lord, for true missionaries and evangelists of the Gospel throughout the world. Keep them true to You, safe, and effective as they share Jesus with a lost and dying world.
We remember our persecuted brothers and sisters, and today we focus upon China. We know, O Lord, that the current situation is bad and getting worse. We pray that You would work in the hearts and lives of Chinese leaders, and that this persecution would stop. Help the believers to know what to do and how to live in this environment. Give them favor in the eyes of others.
Father, in the end, we are victors because Jesus has conquered death, hell, and the grave. He is in the process of ridding our lives of sin through the work of His Spirit. One day, we will be like Him when we see Him as He is. We celebrate the victory we have in Jesus today, and You, our great King to whom we gladly and freely bow the knee.
We pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Pastoral Prayer #14
By Ed Vasicek
Lord, we honor You above all. You are perfectly holy, without sin, without flaw, above and separate from Your creation. You are the Uncreated One, the One Who brought everything into being. You spoke the Word, and all things were created through the Son. Your Spirit hovered over the waters of the yet incomplete earth.
We offer ourselves to You as Your servants. We ask us to help us obey You. The real test of obedience is not whether we obey You when we want to, but rather whether we obey You when we do not want to obey You. Like Jonah the prophet, sometimes we are tempted to set our faces in the opposite direction of Your revealed will. We find within us a divided heart, and sometimes choose to follow our evil inclination rather than our new nature.
Lord, we have all sorts of needs in our lives. We are each individuals who live in our own worlds with our own problems, deficiencies, and, yes, personal defects. Our struggles are relentless at times, and sometimes our burdens overwhelm us. We present some of our concerns to You now, silently:
Our nation needs You, the world needs You. We who know You need You, too Lord. Create in us a hunger for You, a hunger for Your Word, and an eagerness to make a difference for Your Kingdom. Bless us as a church as we seek to combine our efforts to Your glory.
Father, we ask for Your cleansing from our sins, that we might live in harmony and close fellowship with You. Help us, Father, to exude the same kind of grace toward others You exude toward us. Help us to be stricter with ourselves than we are others.
The Evil One and his hoards are out to destroy our testimony, our effectiveness, and our ability to glorify You. We claim the victory of Jesus’ atoning death, burial, victorious resurrection, and ascension to Your right hand. We pray that You would thrash Satan under our feet.
We look forward to dwelling with You in glory. One day, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. We do so now. Help us, therefore, to live lives that honor the Name of Jesus.
We pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Pastoral Prayer # 15
By Ed Vasicek
Oh Father, thank You for Your love and patience toward us. You have every right to chastise us and rebuke us in Your anger, for we have undoubtedly failed You time and time again. We thank You that in Christ, instead of wrath we receive grace, instead of condemnation Your justification.
At the same time, we know, O Lord, that You discipline us for our own good. You have a plan to set us apart as holy, to make us saintly, and to keep us depending upon You. And so we ask You, O Lord, to deliver us from excessive trials that might break us instead of make us. Help us to be patient as we wait for You to work in the perplexing areas of our lives, or the lives of those we love.
We want our lives to bear a living testimony not only of Your patience and grace, but also of Your glory and majesty. May others see Jesus Christ, Your Son, in our character and lives.
The world, our sinful nature, and the devil have a direction and agenda for us. Help us to walk hand in hand with You instead. Keep our minds close to the texts of Your Word, that we might renew our minds and thus find a way to keep from being pressed into the world’s mold. In an age of fads and social engineering, help us to be grounded to Your Word, which, like You, does not change.
We are reminded that the Kingdom of God does not revolve around our country. Though we love our country, our first loyalty is to the Kingdom of God. Help us not confuse our patriotism with the zeal we should have for You and Your Word.
We pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters. We pray that you would alleviate their sufferings, restore their families, and may their persecutors be won to the faith they are trying to destroy. May all nations and creeds recognized the right You give to every individual to choose any or no religious belief. Although we hate to see many choose against You, O Lord Jesus, You require Your disciples to fully and freely choose You to be Lord of their lives.
Lord, we have concerns, worries, burdens, stresses, or aspirations we want to commit to You. We do so silently:
Father, as Your people, we pray that You would nurture our souls this morning. Bless the preaching of the Word and the praises we offer You in prayer and song; bless our fellowship as we encourage one another toward love and good works. Help us to view ourselves as present to worship You, encourage others, and find a way to serve in this church family. We pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.