Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Speak, O Lord, Our Delight and Our Reward

The prayer that follows is the congregational prayer from this last Lord's Day at New Covenant Church:

O God—Father, Son, and Spirit—you are our God. Earnestly we seek you; our souls thirst for you; our flesh faints for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

You, the Fountain of Living Waters, the Fountain of Life, you have said to us: “Seek my face.” Our hearts say to you, "Your face, O Lord, do we seek!" To whom else shall we go? You have words of eternal life. You give us drink from the river of your pleasures. You hold pleasures at your right hand forevermore. So hide not your face from us, O God, our God. Turn us not away in our longings and thirstings and pantings of soul. None can slake our souls’ thirst but you alone.

We have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory, and we confess that your steadfast love is better than this life. And so our lips will praise you, God, our Exceeding Joy, you who have put more joy in our hearts than the world has when their grain and new wine abound.

As we pass, then, through this fleeting, vapor’s breath of a life, this wilderness of the world, we long to be where you are, O Lord; we would be at Jerusalem, in the new heavens and new earth. But in your infinite wisdom, you have seen fit, for now, for us to press on in pilgrimage to that great city where your glory is the sun, where the river of your pleasures runs through, where all things are made new, where our souls will fully and finally find rest in God alone.

So as we linger in this world, this desert, as we press, then, toward our heavenly home, the new Jerusalem, help us, Father, to fix our eyes on the Lord of glory, our Lord Jesus, high and lifted up, merciful and mighty, ready to help us in time of need. You have called us to walk worthy of the Gospel, worthy of our calling, worthy of our Lord. But we cannot walk a worthy walk without your speaking to us a sustaining and satisfying word. So help us to grasp firmly in faith your very great and precious promises purchased by his blood. You have told us, Father, that all your promises—old and new—are “Yes!” in your Son.

So speak, O Lord, to our leaders as they bear the load of their pastoral labors: “I am your salvation and your very great reward. I will be with you, even as I was with Moses.”

Speak, O Lord, to the aging among us, bodies fading and failing, say to them: “When you go through deep waters, even the valley of the shadow of death, I will be with you. You shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Speak, O God, to those who have lost loved ones: “I will be with you; I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me will live and never die.”

O God our Father, speak to your children battling all manner of struggles inward and outward: “I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you. I will not let your foot be moved; I who keep you will not slumber.”

O God our Father, from whom every fatherhood is named, speak to our families and the heads of homes: “I will be with you; I will keep you from all evil, I will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”

Speak, O Lord, to our womens ministry: “I will be with you; I will supply all your needs according to my riches in glory in Christ Jesus; my grace is sufficient for you, my power is perfected in weakness.”

Speak, O Lord, to all of us in our individual and particular callings in this world: “I will be with you; no good thing will I withhold from you if you walk uprightly.”

Speak, O Lord, our Delight and our Reward, for your servants are listening; say to our souls, again and again, “I am your salvation.”

For we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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