Sunday Morning Pastoral Prayers:
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.
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Highland Park Church