by Kevin Phipps
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. You are the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. You alone have immortality. You dwell in unapproachable light. And with you there is no variation or shadow due to change. To you be honor and eternal dominion.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Your kingdom is filled with righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We are grieved by the absence of righteousness, peace, and joy across our land. We ask you to send your Spirit to convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.
Begin with us, your people. As we live in a day when we can watch the grievous sins of others streamed 24-7 on our devices, let us not grow callous to our own sins. May we express more outrage at the scandal of our own sins than indignation over the sins of our neighbors. May each of us earnestly pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
Holy God, We repent for the times we have failed to love our neighbors as ourselves. We repent if there is any hatred or racism in us, if we are harboring unrighteous anger or bitterness towards any, if we have not treated every person as an image-bearer of God, if we have profited by taking advantage of the poor, if we have unlawfully sought to acquire wealth and power, or if we have used any authority we have in an unjust way. Forgive us.
We repent if we have envied the prosperity of others, if we have coveted someone’s position, title, wealth, business, spouse, family, or home.
We repent if we have attempted to avenge ourselves and have returned evil with evil. We repent if we have not honored the authorities that you have placed over us, whether it be parents, or the God-ordained under-shepherds within the church or the God-ordained rulers in the state. Forgive us.
We repent if we have been like the world in our thoughts, in our words, in our social media posts and comments. We repent if we have been divisive, self-exalting, vain, or hurtful with our words. We repent if we have been entertained by or indulged in the lusts of the flesh. Forgive us.
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. We confess our iniquity and transgressions. Cleanse us of all unrighteous, according to the promise of your Gospel. Give us times of refreshing in your presence.
Jesus, we desire to truly live as citizens of your kingdom should live as we continue as pilgrims passing through this world. Help us to bless and not curse those who persecute us. Help us repay no one evil for evil, but overcome evil with good. And as far as it depends on us, may we live peaceably with all. May our communities be blessed, and may you be glorified as we seek to live as peacemakers in this world filled with hostility.
Our Lord, we ask for sanctifying grace that we may be like you, abhorring what is evil, holding fast to what is good, and yet filled with compassion towards the ungodly.
Christ, because we are members of your body, cause our love to be genuine. May we love one another with brotherly affection, living in harmony, outdoing one another in showing honor, contributing to the needs of the saints, seeking to show hospitality and to associate with the lowly. May we rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.
Holy Spirit, help us to walk in wisdom toward unbelievers, making the best use of the time. In a world filled with vitriol and slander, let our speech always be gracious. Help us to be “quick to hear” and “slow to speak.” But give us the courage to speak the truth to those held captive by Satan’s lies and deceptions. Make us ready and help us to recognize open doors to declare the mystery of Christ to those in darkness.
God, when we look at our world today, we are perplexed, but we are not driven to despair. We will not lose heart. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
Help us to be steadfast in hope, patient in tribulation, and constant in prayer, glorifying Christ and growing in grace.
In Jesus’ name, amen.