Thank You For Unnecessary Goodness

A pastoral prayer

A pastoral prayer delivered on June 30, 2024, at Grace Bible Church in Escondido, California.

Our God and Father, we bow in your presence this morning. You are the almighty Creator of heaven and earth. We join our voices with the choir of creation to rejoice in your glory and goodness.

Father, we confess that we’ve dishonored your name in the eyes of our neighbors. We’ve not embodied the values of your kingdom. Instead of humbly serving our neighbors, we’ve lived arrogantly, serving ourselves. Instead of being people of peace, we’ve been all too eager to fight — with our words if not our fists. Instead of generosity, we’ve been marked by greed and materialism.

Father, we’ve led our neighbors to believe you are altogether like us.

Forgive us for the ways we’ve tarnished your reputation. Forgive us for the ways we’ve obscured your goodness and glory. Our sins are many. But we throw ourselves on your abundant mercy and grace.

Father, thank you for filling this world with your beauty and goodness: the taste of a strawberry; light playing on ocean waves at sunset; the sound of human voices singing your praise; the aroma of homebaked cookies; the warmth of the morning sun on our skin. We thank you for unnecessary goodness!

You’ve richly blessed us with so many things to enjoy, so many things to wonder at, so many things to delight in. Awaken us more and more to your beauty. Help us to taste and see that you are good!

Lord, you’ve told us to pray for our leaders. Give wisdom to the Mayor of Escondido and the City Council. Enable them to govern with integrity for the common good.

Father, we think of the many men and women living on the streets here in Escondido. We know the reasons are complex. We know that solutions are hard to come by. But we thank you for the people at Interfaith. Bless their efforts to serve the least of these. Provide them with the funds and volunteers they need.

Continue, Lord, to form us as a church into an embassy of your kingdom. Help us to embody the good news of your grace, both in our life together and when we scatter. Shape us into a community of praise, a community of selfless love, a community of witness to the great things you’ve done in Jesus Christ.

Father, we have many needs. We think this morning of Name and Name. Keep them steady and strong during Name’s cancer treatment. Give healing to Name and Name as they recover from a car accident. Give Name endurance as he recovers from knee surgery. Be near all in our congregation who live with chronic illness and pain. Be their strength, Lord.

And today — Promotion Sunday — we thank you for the many children here at GBC. Open their hearts to the wonder of your love and grace. Draw them to yourself. Form them into amazing followers of Jesus Christ.

Father, you’ve set your strong love on us in your Son. You’ve adopted us as your own daughters and sons. You’ve sent the Spirit of your beloved Son to dwell in us so we might know we belong to you. Lead us a little further into your marvelous love today, through Christ our King. Amen.