Pastoral prayer

O Lord our God, blessed Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, our hearts rejoice this morning in the grace that invites us to know Your name and to call upon Your name, and in the grace that has called us by Your own name. We thank You, our God, for Your outgoing love, for Your insistence on making Yourself known to us in all of Your majesty, beauty, and goodness; we thank You as well for Your ingathering love, for Your insistence on adopting us as sons and daughters, and giving us royal privileges in Your household. We bless You that in all You are as God – and how can we begin to take that in? – You are our God, and You command us to believe it is so. We rejoice, our Lord, in revealing grace, saving grace, and enlivening grace; we rejoice in baptizing grace and nourishing grace; we rejoice in justifying, adopting, sanctifying, and preserving grace.

And yet we cannot think of all Your grace, our Lord, without knowing in our inmost hearts how terribly we sin against it. We do not begin to love You as Your love deserves. We do not begin to serve You as the King You are. We are often so muddled, Lord, that compared to various created things we find the Creator barely interesting. You call us Your sons and daughters, but we surely don’t behave like it; we carry about Your name in this world and disgrace it by living with little more zeal for Your glory than our pagan neighbors. And yet, our God, while sins against grace are the worst sins, we know also that precisely here is our hope: that if Your grace abounded to us while we were enemies, it will be still more abundant to us now that we are children – and we beseech You, our Father, not only that You would pardon our dullness, waywardness, and neglectfulness before You, but also that You would make this hour of worship a turning point in our lives; that You would grant us to go forth from here a more faithful and affectionate people, just because we have feasted here afresh on Your glory and grace. We ask these things in the name of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ.

Category: Grace and Life Comment »

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