Editors note: Here are lightly edited transcriptions of the prayers of praise, confession, intercession, and thanksgiving from Capitol Hill Baptist Church one Sunday morning.
PRAYER OF PRAISE
Father, we praise you that you are a God who makes wonderful promises. We praise you that you promise life, peace and joy; you promise a world ruled by a perfect ruler who loves and cares for his subjects.
Father, we praise you that you are faithful to all your promises. We praise you that you have the power to ensure that not a word of your promises ever falls to the ground. We praise you that even when men seek in their evil to obstruct your plans you use their evil to bring your plans to fulfillment. We praise you that we can have complete confidence in all your promises, including the promise that one day we will see the Lord Jesus Christ face to face in glory. Father, we praise you that you make your promises to those who do not deserve them.
We praise you that, though we have rejected your authority and refused to give thanks for your provision, you have promised your people an eternity under your perfect rule and a world full of abundance, a banquet of the best of meats and the finest of wines.
We praise you that you have done what was necessary for these promises to come to fulfillment, that you have sent your Son to seal the covenant of your promises in his own blood, so that we may have confidence that, though our sins are scarlet, you will wash them white as snow.
Father, we praise you that when we have received every blessing that you have promised, we will not rejoice so much in the glory of the world around us but in the face and presence of our beloved Saviour, Jesus Christ. We praise you that every blessing we receive from your hand is the overflow of the glories of your character. Amen.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Father, we come before you as our maker and our judge, conscious of our rebellion against you; conscious that, though you are our provider and our sustainer, we reject you.
Father, we confess that, though you are the most glorious, beautiful, awesome thing in the universe, our hearts are cold to you and we consider knowledge of you cheap.
Father, we confess that we do not do your will.
We confess that throughout our lives we reject what you have said to be good and embrace that which is evil.
Father, as we consider that Jesus Christ was obedient unto death, we confess that at the smallest inconvenience or hardship or denial of pleasure involved in obedience we quickly turn away from doing what pleases you. Sometimes even the effort of trying to understand whether or not something is your will is too much trouble for us.
We confess that, if disobedience makes the slightest offer of pleasure or comfort, we too often take it, ignoring the promises of life that you have made to those who follow you. Please forgive us and change us that we might have hearts responsive to your word.
Father, we confess that one of the ways we disobey you is in our lack of service toward others. We know that so often we refuse to relinquish our interests for the sake of others. Though we know that Christ was prepared to go to the cross in the service of us who deserved nothing of the kind, we are so often slow to lay aside our needs for the sake of others. We make excuses and rationalize why our needs should come first, forgetting that the Lord Jesus Christ has called us to follow him as a servant.
Father, as we consider our sin, we are sorry for how little we pray to you that sin might not reign in our hearts, how little we cry out to you for strength to resist sin in our lives. We pray that you would give us a greater concern for obedience so that we would pray daily for your strength to resist evil.
We bring our hearts before you Lord, full of evil and selfishness; and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for our sake we ask that you would hear our prayer, have mercy upon us, forgive us, cleanse us and change us. For your name's sake, amen.
Hear the Word of God: "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death."
PASTORAL PRAYER (OF INTERCESSION)
Lord God, we thank you that you have desired to glorify yourself and that you have desired to love us as part of that. Thank you for calling us in your Word to cast all our cares on you. You have proven yourself faithful again and again; and so we make these needs known publicly, because we know that you are faithful and we desire to bring glory to you.
Lord, we pray for members of this congregation that are in special need. You know what these needs are: physical needs, needs in our family or at work, spiritual needs. Oh God, we pray that you would by your grace reveal our neediness to us and reveal to us your fullness and your faithfulness.
Lord, we pray especially you for all the young parents in this congregation. We thank you for them, we thank for giving them this exciting calling. We pray that you would give them strength, give them wisdom, give them encouragement.
We pray, too, Lord for all those brothers and sisters from other nations that you have entrusted to our care. Thank you, Lord, for the little taste of the international nature of your body that you have given us here. We thank you especially for those brothers and sisters that make an extra effort to speak to us in English, to fellowship with us even when it is sometimes exhausting for them. Lord, thank you for strengthening them. We pray that you would encourage them.
Lord, you tell us that we are we to pray for those in authority, and so we do. We pray for state legislators in our land. Cause them to use their authority wisely, especially when it touches on the care of children and those matters that are taught in public schools. We pray that you would give them an understanding of how you have made us and what things are good for people. We pray for the protection of religious freedom in public schools. We thank you for the amount of liberty that we've had in this land for so long to speak about you, and we pray that that would continue. For our own officials here in the District, we do pray for honesty in their work. In your kindness to people in this District, we pray that you would root out corruption in this government. We pray that funds that are taken from honest taxpayers would be used wisely and well. And Lord, we do pray for the president; we pray for him personally; we pray for his relationship with his wife, through all the trials and difficulties of having that job.
Lord, we pray for our own congregation and our ministry here of evangelism. We thank you for all the opportunities that are afforded to us at this time of year. We do pray for the Christmas Eve service; we pray that men and women would come that don't normally come within the sound of your gospel and that they would hear the Good News of Jesus and be converted. We pray for the Carols on the Hill service: for those making music, for those leading the congregation, for our brother Matt as he speaks. Bless that time and use it for your glory. We pray for the Christmas tea. Thank you for the many ladies that have been involved in that, and we pray your blessings of Marlene as she speaks. We pray for fruit from that. We pray for the Angel Tree ministry. Thank you for the many relationships that have been built. We pray, Lord, that we would be faithful with the wealth that you have entrusted to us. We pray that we would be able to show your kindness and care, even in small and simple ways to those around us. Oh Lord, you have loved us so much, and we pray that you would enlarge our hearts with love for those around us.
Lord, we pray for our dear brother C. J. Mahaney and the Sovereign Grace ministries. We thank you for the many ways in which that movement has been a blessing to this congregation. We do pray for C. J. today: we pray that you would uphold him with your power, that you would fill him with your Spirit and enable him to both speak and hear your Word well, and that you would bless those churches.
Lord, we pray for our own Josh and Jenny -------. We thank you for them. We thank you for entrusting them to us. We thank you for giving them now a child. Thank you for causing them to be a family that knows and trusts you. And we pray for Josh especially, Lord, as he pursues studies in seminary. We pray that he would think carefully about you and your Word and that you would cause him to be a blessing to many others as he comes to know and love you more.
We pray for our dear brother Michael -------- in El Salvador today. We pray for Rodrigo ------- there with him that he would be encouraged by Michael's presence. We pray that Michael would be able to instruct pastors and that they would hear and learn. Lord, we pray that you would defeat plans of the Evil One because Michael is there and has reflected on the Word and teaches faithfully. We pray for Adrienne and the children as they are here without Michael. We pray that you would encourage them and provide for them. Show Adrienne your faithfulness each day, we pray.
We pray for your church around the world. We pray, Lord, for the tiny churches in Azerbaijan. We pray for the growth of your gospel in that land. Thank you for the religious freedom that the fall of the Soviet Union government has meant in so many places, including in Azerbaijan. Thank you for how much more freedom there is in Latvia and we pray that your gospel would spread in that land. We thank you again for the spread of your gospel in Uganda. It's been amazing to see what you've done there in the last century. And, oh God, even now as there's an Ebola outbreak and some are choosing to stay and minister, we pray that you would use this time to make your gospel clear. And, Father, we pray for mercy on those people. We pray that you would help the officials to administer resources and movements of people well.
Lord, we thank you for the great heritage of the translations of your Word we have in English. Thank you that we are able to read your Word as easily and readily as we are. We give you praise for the way that you have poured out this grace and favour on our land and so many more.
We pray for the nation of Yemenoh, Lordaddicted to drug production and use as it isbroken in so many ways. Oh, God, bring your gospel to that needy land. We pray that you would break the grip of the Evil One there, and we pray that many men and women would come to know you.
Oh God, we pray for the president of Sudan. We pray Lord that you would give him a conviction of sin; awaken his conscience. Make way there, we pray, for more free preaching of your word and for a just government.
We pray for President Karzai of Afghanistanthat you would give him wisdom in the very difficult task that he has. And we pray that your gospel would continue to take root and spread in that land.
Lord, here in our own nation, we do pray that Christians would grow in grace and humility. We pray that we would well reflect the Lord Jesus Christ to those around us.
Here in our own congregation, we pray that we would be marked by gratitude for what you have done and by confidence in what you will do. Oh Lord, feed us by your word we pray, in Jesus name, amen.
PRAYER OF THANKS
Dear Lord, we come before you now to give you thanks for all that you have given to us, not least of which is your grace that we know through your Son Jesus Christ. We give now out of an overflow of your kindness towards us and we pray that through them your Word would spread and bring you glory. We pray these things in Christ's name and for his glory, amen.
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