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 CONFESSION
Father, we come to you as rebels; as evil men and women who have done wrong in your sight.
Lord God, we confess that, though you have created us and given us every good thing, from the smallest breath to our most precious possession, we have not given you thanks as you deserve.
Though we have been made to worship you, and in your service is joy and liberty, we have put ourselves under the mastery of other things.
We confess that we have made ourselves slaves to our desiresdesires for comfort, desires for pleasure, desires for wealth and riches. We have regarded them as better masters than you, and they have borne us bitter fruit. We arrange our lives, not according to your commands as our creator, but according to what will gratify the cravings of our hearts. We are prepared to go to any lengths to serve ourselves. Father, we confess that we will disregard the needs of others and your holy word in order to claim what we want.
Father, we confess our enmity against you. We confess that our hearts too often feel no affection for you. We confess that we see no value in hearing your voice in your Word; we feel no joy in pouring out our hearts to you in prayer. Father, we confess that even the cross of Christ, even that great act of love and grace by the Lord Jesus Christ, inspires little devotion or adoration in our hearts.
Forgive us our ingratitude, Father. Forgive us our idolatry. Forgive us our rebellion and pride. We ask for your mercy and your grace in our helplessness. We ask in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and on grounds of his blood shed in our place. For his name's sake, amen.
Hear the comfort of the Word of God:
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion.
PRAYER OF PRAISE
Heavenly Father, We do ascribe to you the glory due your name, and praise you for the splendor of your holiness. We praise you because in your holiness you are just, patient and wise. In you there is no bias motivated by wickedness or evil. Your vision is not distorted by sin. The vain things of this world do not distract you, and do not complicate your motives.
Unlike us your eyes see the true state of our hearts. With precision your gaze sees the eternal value of all things, for you alone always view life through the lens of truth. So, we praise you, and you only as our worthy and just Judge.
As your people, who so often happily choose blindness instead of sight, and deafness instead of the hearing of your voice, we marvel at your patience; for in the very act of your restraint the depth of your kindness is illuminated and the nature of your mercy displayed.
Every day that you endure the sinfulness of your creation, the shades of your compassion become more clear, and its shape more sweet. And God we praise you because in your just judgment, in your patience, you display perfect wisdom.
Throughout Scripture, Heavenly Father, we see that it is by your will and your word that all life, all creation exists. Lord Jesus, it is by your life, death and resurrection, by your faithful enduring obedience, that the Father redeems those who are his. Holy Spirit, it is by your work that the hearts of men are turned toward the Father and made capable of glorifying him.
So, Lord, our hearts sing your praise this morning, for you are the source of all justice, patience and true wisdom. We praise you because your character, your attributes, turn the attention of all creation to the only one worthy of glory.
It is to the praise of Christ alone that we pray these things, through him, amen.
PASTORAL PRAYER (OF INTERCESSION)
Lord, you are wonderful in your love for us. We give you praise and thanks. Lord, you've heard it in our prayers and in our songs; you've heard it in our conversations and in our hearts. Now, we want to obey your Word and cast our cares on youask of youeven more. We do this not because you are in any way lacking in your fullness towards us, but because we would give you glory by making it known publicly what a trustworthy and reliable God you are.
So, Lord, we do pray for members of this congregation that are in special need. You know who they are and what those needs are. We pray that you would show yourself sufficient; and when you do, turn our hearts to give you thanks. Help us to be quick to give you praise and thanks for your goodness and your kindness to us in answering our prayers. We pray for those among us who are sick or who have friends and family who are in the hospital. Show tenderness to them and remind them of the promises that we have in Christ. We pray Lord for health and strength and even more for faith and trust in you.
Lord, we pray for the many unmarried people in the congregation. We pray for those that you are calling to be single that you would give them a joy and contentedness in their calling. And for those that you desire to be married, we pray that you would show them their spouse that they could begin their married lives and families together.
You tell us in your word that we should pray for those in authority over us, Lord, and so we pray for our president. We pray that you would give him wisdom. We thank you for the government in this nation under which we enjoy freedom of religion. We thank you for the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly that are recognised in this land. We thank you that these are recognized as rights from you. We pray for wisdom especially for school administrators during this holiday season as they are trying to be respectful of the law and the faiths of the students. Oh, Lord, give them wisdom we pray. We do pray that during this time of year the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would be joyfully, regularly, and clearly shared.
Father, we pray, too, for those ministries which are such a blessing to us. We think of CCEFthe Christian Counselling and Educational Foundation. We thank you for their literature and training that so many of us have profited from. Lord, at the end of the year we pray that you'd supply their needs financially. We pray that you'd encourage themthose who labour there to study your Word and their own hearts and write in such a way that's useful for our sanctification. We pray that you'd encourage them even today in their good work.
Lord, we pray for fruit from the Christmas tea here yesterday. We thank you for the many who laboured on that. We thank you especially for Marlene, for preserving her and using her. Lord, we pray that you would plant the seed of faith in many women's hearts through that time and would bring that to full fruition.
We pray for churches around this country, Lord, and for the college students in them, especially as we near the end of the semester. We pray that churches in crucial cities around campuses with students would hold out your gospel clearly, and we pray that there would be conversions from Los Angeles to Chicago to Madison, Wisconsin, to Charlotte to here. Lord, in the hundreds of cities around this land where young people are collected to study, we pray that you would plant vital witnesses for the gospel.
Lord, we thank you for Greg and Diane --------. We thank you for their fellowship with us this last year. We pray that you would encourage them in their work in Central Asia. We pray that you would supply for their every need.
And as we think of places around the world, we do pray for the nation of Egypt. We pray for living
wages to be paid to factory workers there so that they can provide for their families through honourable work. We pray that you would cause Christians to be active in doing good to others, and we pray that your gospel would be adorned through the good activity of Christians in that land.
We pray, Lord, for the president of Mali. We pray that he would become a proponent of religious freedom in that land.
We thank you for the many churches in Zimbabwe that have already assembled today and sung your praises. We pray, Lord, that you would strengthen them, bless them in their evangelism, bless them in the use of evangelistic films. We thank you for the way you've brought men and women to yourself through that medium, and we pray that you would continue to use it there.
We pray for the many African independent churches across the continent of Africa, we thank you for raising up these witnesses to you. We pray that you would give them mature leaders that know you and know your Word well.
Lord, we thank you for the religious freedom in the little nation of Luxembourg. We thank you for the way that men and women there have been able to hear the gospel preached, and we pray that would continue. We pray for more people who would believe and trust in you and preach your good news.
We pray too, Lord, for the little nation of Bahrain. We pray that your gospel would spread in that land. And we pray, again, as we prayed last week, for Azerbaijan. We pray for its president that he would understand the rightness of allowing men and women to follow their own conscience in their worship of you.
Lord, for Christians in our land, we pray that we would be diligent in spending personal time with you alone. Father, make us disciplined in this way; cause us not be hypocritesto have a show of a relationship with you when really we only have a passing acquaintance. Oh God, deepen our relationships with you. We pray, too, that you would bless our families, that our families would know the benefits of having Christians in them and the influence that we are for love and generosity and kindness and forgiveness.
Here in our own congregation, we pray that you would mark us as those who are convicted of our sins towards you. Give us tender consciences towards you, we pray. And then Lord show us Jesus. Show us clearly in your Word the sacrifice of Christ. By your spirit, Lord, make it appear to our hearts. Help us to understand and believe and feed on you by faith. O Risen Lord, we thank you for the hope that you lay before us, and we pray that you would increase our faith. We ask that you would do that even today through the preaching of your Word. In Jesus name, amen.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Dear Lord, we come before you now to give you thanks for your grace and mercy to sinners like us. Every day you shower us with blessings we don't deserve, in addition to the supreme gift of your Son Jesus. 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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