the work of the church

pray

(Exit and entry prayers, written for Moody Bible Institute’s Day of Prayer, March 1, 2017)

Upon entry:

Would you hold your hands out palms downward with me?  We all get to read the bold lines.

Father,
We come before You at the start of a day full of spiritual labor,
And our temporal labors weigh us down.

We release these things into Your care, for You care for us.

We give you our distractions,
For You are much more interesting.
We give you our homework,
For You exist beyond the pages and above the outlines,
We give you our relationships,
For they find all meaning solely in You.
We give you our complaints,
For You hear us.
We give you our worries,
For You hush and hold us,
We give you our fears,
For You are perfect Love, and they cannot stand the sight of You.
We give you our pride,
For we are so, so small, yet not one of us can fall but that You see us.
We give you our grief,
For You are solace, and comfort, and hope.

Turn your hands palms upward, please. We say together:

Father,
Give us love for You and each other.
Joy in Your presence,
Peace in our hearts,
Patience for the struggle,
Kindness for all we encounter,
Integrity and unity of purpose,
Faithfulness in prayer,
Gentleness toward all, and
Self-control in our minds and bodies.

Grant that we would be in step with Your Spirit now, as we pray.

The work of the church is prayer.
Papa, we come into your presence as children into the arms of their parent.
Hear us, as You hear Your Son,
Refresh us with Your Spirit,
Interpret our mumblings as only You can.

Upon exit:

At best we mumble.
At best we stutter.
At best our half-hearts desire to desire
And need to need.

And Your mercy listens,
And Your Spirit hears what You define
And in Christ our words are clear to You:

Maybe they only amount to “help.”

But this is true:
That here, here, is nothing.
And You, You, are everything.
And Your help is swift,
And it’s rarely what we want it to be.
But it’s always what we need it to be.

Join in the bold lines:

In our grief,
Comfort us.
In our pride,
Convict us.
In our fears,
Embolden us.
In our worries,
Settle us down.
In our complaints,
Give us perspective.
In our relationships,
Let us love.
In our homework,
Help us to persevere to the end.
And in our distractions,
Focus our hearts on what really matters:
Your Gospel.
Your Kingdom.
Your glory.
You.
Jesus, in whose name we pray.
Amen.

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