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Our Father in Heaven, we grieve over our sin. We cannot live a day without finding sin in our lives. We labor to be holy, but we fall short. We find in ourselves lawless desires, envy, jealousy, and even the longing to seek our own revenge. We are unworthy. But Jesus is worthy. We are sinful, but Jesus is righteous. We are failures, but Jesus never failed. We are subjects, but Jesus is King. Lord, help us in our struggles against sin, for surely from sin arises most of our troubles. Grant to us growth in grace whereby we might be able to live more holy and therefore that we might indeed be more happy.
Our Father, grant us peace in time of trouble. When trials become our lot in life, may your grace sustain us. Lord, we know how to respond, but we fail again. Pain is all around us and suffering is rampant. Give us the peace that passes understanding, even when times are hard. Help us to remember that the hairs on our head are numbered. You know us better than we know ourselves. As a loving father on earth knows well the details of His estate, so You know well our frame. Not a tear flows from our eyes, not ache in our hearts, not a hurt in our flesh, goes without Your notice. Lord, You love us. You care for us. You will take care of us. For this we give thanks this morning.
Our Father, we pray for Thy Church. We are often blind to our own sins. What we consider success may be our failure. What we consider failure, may be our success. What we see as small, You may see as great. What we see as great, you may see as small. Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. Let the poor man see how rich he is and let the rich man glory in his humility before Christ. What the world loves, we hate. What we love, the world hates. There is no fellowship between light and darkness. There is no compact between God and the Devil. We are indeed a peculiar people, a people for Your own possession. We don't covet the love of the world. We covet the love of God. May every man be found to be a liar and God be found to be true. Let us not fear what man may do to us. Let us rejoice in what God has done for us. Lord, quiet our hearts and calm our fears. Give us boldness in times when men fear, and patience in times when men are anxious. Make us like a city set aside upon a hill where the light shines bright for all the world to see.
Lord, we pray for those who have fallen in the Church. We pray especially for those who lead the flock. We pray for those who have been given positions of authority. When the shepherd falls, what are the sheep to do? Control the damage. Regroup your people. Don't let your people become discouraged. Don't let them become bitter. Moses failed and did not enter the Promised Land. David failed and committed the most horrendous sins. Peter denied Christ three times. Lord, we pray for Your shepherds. Uphold them by the power of Your grace. They feel unworthy. They know their own weakness. And yet you call them to stand before Your people and boldly declare Your word.
Our Father, grant Your blessings upon our covenant children. May the word of God take hold in their lives in the days of their youth. Give them the knowledge of the sacred Scriptures that is able to give them wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Lord, they may indeed face a world hostile to the Christian faith. We have lived in ease on the hill of Zion. They may have to fight battles we have never fought. May they ever remember that the victory is not with the strong, not is the strength with those with many horses, but the victory belongs to those who are strong in the Holy Spirit and the word of God. Twelve disciples changed the world. The west was Christianized because a few men never gave up. Who knows what victories lay ahead for the generations that follow us because we were faithful in our own time? Who can limit what the Lord can do?
Lord, we live in a world that worships idols. Men are happy and dying at the same time. They are filled and yet they are empty. The gospel is good news, but it does require a change of gods. Men hang onto their gods with tenacity, and only Your Spirit and Your word can break their idolatry. Sometimes only a crisis can break that bondage. Lord, break the bondage men have to false gods. Give the gospel success even in these days when the word of God is out of season.
Lord, grant that our worship this morning will be pleasing in Your sight. People come to church for different reasons. Some delight to hear Thy law. Lord may our Church be full of such people. Jesus came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law, and blessed be the man who teaches Thy law for he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. We ask all these things in Christ's Name. Amen.