Our Gracious God and Heavenly Father

A pastoral prayer offered on May 3, 2020 at Grace Bible Church in Escondido, CA.

empty pews

Our gracious God and heavenly Father,
we come before you this morning to give you praise.
We praise you as the God of all grace.
You are merciful and gracious, slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
keeping steadfast love for thousands,
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.

We see your love and mercy and grace most clearly
in your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
He is the radiance of your glory,
the Word become flesh,
full of grace and truth.

In his righteous life, sacrificial death, and triumphant resurrection
we see that you, O God, are for us, your people.
You did not spare your own Son, but gave him up for us all.
How will you not also with him graciously give us all things
that pertain to life and godliness.

We adore you Father for your heart of overflowing love.
We adore you Lord Jesus for your compassion.
We adore you Holy Spirit for pouring into our hearts
the divine love that is beyond our comprehension.

Glory to you, our Triune God.

God of all mercy, as we come before you this morning,
we acknowledge that our sins are many.
We have offended you in thought and word and deed,
not only by obvious violations of your law,
but also by failing to conform to its perfect commands.

We confess that are our hearts are often cold toward you,
when they ought to be glowing with love and delight.

We are prone to grumble and complain
about how you’ve ordered our circumstances.
How ungrateful we can be.

You are the God who has led us
all these years of our earthly pilgrimage.
You have provided abundantly
for our needs time and time again.
You have been with us in days of difficulty,
blessing us with a sense of your presence,
reassuring us of your love and care.
Yet we complain because we don’t like the situation.

Forgive us, O Lord.
Purge us from the guilt
and stain of our sin
and we shall be clean.
Enable us to entrust ourselves to your wise providence,
so that we may be patient in adversity.

Forgive us for grumbling
about the leaders you have placed over us in government.
All too often, especially during this pandemic,
we have not exemplified the attitudes and actions
you command us to display as pilgrim people.

We chafe against authority.
We speak evil of those you have placed over us.
We are not gentle and respectful
toward those with whom we disagree,
but proud, intellectually arrogant, quarrelsome and rude.

Merciful God, forgive us.
We hang our heads in shame for how our words
and attitudes and actions fail to show forth
the gentleness and lowliness
of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Enable us, O God,
to replace unkind words with respectful speech
that imparts grace and wisdom to the hearer.
Enable us to be humble, to show perfect courtesy
toward all, no matter their political party.

Despite the ugliness of our sin, you have promised
that if we confess our sins to you,
you will readily forgive us for Jesus’s sake.

We rejoice in your promise
and find great comfort in knowing
that though are sins are many
your mercy is more.

Father, we pray for your blessing on the work
of the gospel here in Escondido.
May the many faithful, gospel-preaching churches
in our city continue to announce the good news
of Jesus Christ.
We think of New Life Presbyterian Church,
Escondido OPC, and Escondido URC.

Beyond Escondido, we think of our fellow FIRE churches,
Valley Center Community Church
and Grace Bible Church San Diego.
Give these churches the strength to endure
these difficult circumstances we find ourselves in.

We pray for the [Names] in [location].
Keep them healthy.
Bless their work in the local church
and in the seminary.

Give wisdom to our elected leaders.
Give them humility and a desire
to serve the common good.

God of all comfort, you comfort us in all our affliction,
give your comfort to our sister [Name]
in the midst of her loss.

We thank you for [Name’s] testimony
of confident trust in Jesus Christ
as his only Savior and Lord.
Thank you for preserving him in the faith
throughout his long health trials.
We take great comfort in knowing
that he now sees the Savior,
whom he loved so much, face to face.

O God, you are a God who draws near
to the lonely and brokenhearted.
Would you come near
to those in our congregation who live alone
and to those who are struggling with the isolation
that we’re living under right now.
Give them an awareness of your presence.
Encourage them with your Word.
Be to them their refuge and strength,
a very present help in time of trouble.

Our Father in heaven,
what a privilege it is to speak to you in prayer.
What an encouragement to know that you hear us
because we come to you
through our elder brother at your right hand,
Jesus Christ, your eternal Son. Amen.