The Pastoral Prayer for the Tenth of January, in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One, at Hope Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever! (1 Chronicles 16:31-34)
O Lord God, we humbly come before you this afternoon, saying with the Scripture, “The LORD reigns!” You reign and we do not. So we offer our prayers up to you. Lord, you are good, and your steadfast love endures forever, Your Word tells us to give thanks to you because of these things. So Lord, we give you thanks, for you are good, and we are not. We give you thanks, for your steadfast love endures forever, and our love is weak.
Though our love and worship be filled with blemishes and imperfections, yet even the seas and all therein roar for you; even the fields and everything in them, exult in you; even the trees of the forests sing for joy before you. Let our hearts and lips not withhold the worship and honor due to you today. May our hearts roar for you today, exult in you, and sing for joy before you.
But your Word tells us that the trees sing for joy before you because you come to judge the earth. Lord help us sing for joy just the same today. May we not only thank you and be happy for your happy blessings, your smiling providences, and your gifts of grace; but may we also rejoice and be glad in your righteous judgements, your acts of justice, and your condemnation of evil. May this not be a strange thing to thank you for, but may we be full-bibled Christians that do not hesitate to sing for joy that you judge the earth. We thank you that you do so. We are happy that you punish the wicked. We rejoice that you do not turn a blind eye to wickedness, but that you deal with it in righteousness. For this reason, we are not to be brought to despair at the evil condition of the world, but rejoice that you, as the judge of all the earth, will do what is right. Lord, we rejoice that you indeed will judge the evils of abortion, the evils of child tracking, the evils of pornography, the evils of fraud and false testimony, the evils of murder, the evils of communism and tyranny, and the evils of idolatry and false religion. O Lord, we rejoice and sing at the thought that these things will not escape your judgment.
But God we do so humbly, for we know that in ourselves, we stand condemned just the same. We have sinned against you and have done great evil in thought, word, and deed – the totality of our being fallen in sin, such that even our righteous deeds are but filthy rags before you. We confess that we deserve death, judgement, and the eternal flames of hell. And indeed, for each sinner that is cast into eternal damnation, such a judgement will receive the applause of the angels. You are right to deal with us in such a manner.
Yet, many of us are here today, because you have not dealt with us in such a manner, but instead you gave your only Son to become sin, taking our sin upon Himself, bearing it in full upon the cross, and received the just judgment we deserved upon Himself, so that we might live, and not enter into eternal damnation, but into eternal life and joy forevermore. What love is this that you have loved and redeemed sinners such as us! Lord, if there be any sinner here today that has not received the forgiveness of sins through the blood of your Son, would you arrest their hearts and deal with them so mercifully today, that they may live forever with us and with you.
So Lord we give thanks to you today for you are good and your steadfast love endures forever. For this reason we have confidence in coming before your throne of grace, that no matter how much we have sinned and strayed, you remain steadfast in your love toward us. Your steadfast love and faithfulness is grounded in your character and marked by the cross of Christ for us, for that we give you thanks, and our prayers today.
On that basis we are confident to make our requests known today. We thank you, God, for each family that makes up our local congregation here at Hope, that has covenanted together with us to live the Christian life together. Today we give you thanks for the [family name redacted], [name redacted] and [name redacted], and their children. We ask that you bless their efforts to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and that you bless their marriage to one another as a faithful picture of the gospel. We ask that you would save and keep their children, and that their home would be full of roaring happiness, laughter, and singing in the joy of the Lord as they exult in you. We ask that you would strengthen [name redacted] hand and give success to him in his business endeavors to provide for his family and for others, and keep him faithful to his calling as a Christian man. We ask that you would strengthen [name redacted] heart and give her success in the keeping of her home and helping her husband. May she ever increase in her adorning of the gospel with her life as a godly woman of the Word.
We thank you as well for the offices you have given to the local church, that of elders and deacons. As I happen to be on the list this week, I ask for you help in all things, that I would always remember that I can do nothing apart from you. Lord I pray that you would keep me from sin and temptation in my life and walk ever closely to you. I thank you for the great privilege to be an undershepherd among this congregation, of which I am not worthy. Lord help me to grow in wisdom and ability to shepherd this church well. For the sake of your name among the people here at this church, would you bless the work of ministry that I do here. I thank you, that Jesus Christ is the head of the church, and not me or any man, so that I am just to follow what you have said, and implement that. Give me the grace to always do so and remain faithful to your Word, no matter what.
Not only do we intercede for our own congregation, but also for our civil magistrates, that you have ordained to office in the civil realm. Whether it be our local magistrates, state, or federal we ask first that you would save them from their sin. Sadly politics has become a dirty and dark business fill with much sin and darkness. We ask that the light of your truth would expose the darkness and the wicked deeds done there in, that you would judge it, and redeem it, that we would one day have godly rulers who fear you and seek to honor your Word. We pray for our nation even now as there is much instability. We pray that what is wicked and unjust you would go ahead and tip right on over to come crumbling down. We pray that you would break the teeth of the wicked and rise to save us, O God. But as it seems our nation’s most urgent need is for repentance, we ask that you would grant it, and grant it in great number. We deserve every judgment you send our way, but we ask that your kindness and patience would yet lead us to repentance, that you would spare us from the worst that we deserve for our many sins and great rebellion against you. Lord, do what is right and protect your church. Purify her and give her courage to stand in this day.
Not only do we pray for our own nation, but we pray also for those people groups that have not been reached with the gospel in our day. We lift up to you the Kachhi people in India. We ask that you would send workers into the Kachhi harvest to make your name known among that people, that the earth would be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea, and that all peoples would bring tribute to Christ our King. Lord, would you send workers to learn the many languages spoken among the Kachhi people, that Christ would be known and honored in every tongue known to man, that every language would sing your praise. We can’t do it, but you can. We ask that you would. As your Word tells us, “let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns!’” May the Kachhi people say, “The LORD reigns!”
Lord, hear our prayer, and bless our worship today. In Jesus’ name, amen.