It was suggested that my Pastoral Prayer from May 31st be published. Sometimes. when we don’t know what to pray, having a prayer written down gives us a guide.
From Pentecost Sunday, May 31st, at First Reformed Church.
Our God, our father, our king, our judge
You are the one who sits in heaven reigning over all things. Lord Jesus, Your kingdom is forever and ever. In your kingdom, justice is perfect. In your kingdom, there is no respect of persons.
And we know that we were created to long for that perfect justice. As image bearers, our hearts and our souls cry out for the day when justice will run down like water as the prophet has foretold.
As we wait for that day, Father, fill us with your peace. May our anger be expressed in a way consistent with your nature, as our Lord Jesus did.
Restrain the lawless and the murderer and the reviler and the brawler. And father, may your kingdom come. May we always submit ourselves more and more to you. Govern us by your word and spirit, cast out wickedness in high places, restrain lawlessness, give justice to the oppressed, comfort to the bereaved, peace to the restless.
And on this day of Pentecost, more than ever, we long for the filling of your Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit, conform our hearts to the image of Jesus Christ.
As we long for the appearing of our Lord Jesus, teach us to crucify our old nature. We know, dearest Lord, that we must cast off the old man and his deeds – and put on the new man. Forgive us. Search our hearts as the Psalmist teaches us to pray.
Search our hearts to uncover the ugliness there. Like a wise surgeon uncovering the cancer, so uncover our cancer so that we might be healed. Bring light into our darkness. Bring healing to our deadly wound. For the wound is deadly. There is no balm of healing, except for that provided by our Lord and King.
And we long for his coming – when he will come and cast all his and our enemies into everlasting fire, and take us with all his precious people into eternal glory, where justice, truth and mercy reign.
We are so used to justifying ourselves and condemning others. Teach us, instead, to judge with righteous judgment, where there is no respect of persons, no partiality, no bribery, no coverups – that we might be good children of our Father in heaven, who does good to all men, with whom there is no partiality nor respect of persons.
Fill us with your spirit that we might walk in the light. Fill our lives with love and joy and peace. And let righteousness reign. Against these things there is no law.
Father we mourn for our communities, for our cities, for the brokenness of the world. Hatred and injustice are contrary to our creation and quickly become intolerable. Give us wisdom and humility as we seek the way forward. Tear down the walls of hatred and injustice and brutality and lawlessness and let righteousness and peace reign, without oppression, without entitlement, in humility and love. Give our leaders a spirit of justice and wisdom, for rioting and war are never good and cannot bring the righteousness of God.
May the gospel flourish. May the true gospel of our Lord Jesus be proclaimed, believed, embraced. Tear down false prophets, tear down those who feed themselves rather than the sheep. Tear down those who seek to profit off the backs of those who are hurting.
May your word of peace flow down like water, cleansing our hearts from all evil.
Change us, and we will be changed. Convert us, and we will be converted. Give courage to the fearful. Strength to the weary. Faith to the doubting.
And give us peace. Not a false peace of smiles covering a heart screaming in fear and pain; but true peace. Where there is true cleansing, true righteousness and justice, peace between you and us, us and them, us and creation – for we are your people, and you are our God.
We long for that day where the lion and the lamb lie down together, and the asp and the child play together. We long for that day when there is no hurt and no pain and no injustice and no brutality in all your holy mountain.
May that day break forth in this age, Father. Show us glimpses of that kingdom in our own hearts and in our lives. Give us peace. Restrain wickedness, wherever it appears. Cast down the evildoer, whoever they are. In our lives and in our deeds, may all that we do cry out that the Lord God Omnipotent reigns.
Guide my lips today. Bless the reading and preaching of your word. Soften our hearts, fill us with your Spirit. Forgive sins. Heal the brokenhearted. Relieve the fatherless and widow. And may our lives be filled with the fruit of your Spirit.
And let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, Our Strength, and Our Redeemer.
In Jesus’ name,