Monday, January 11, 2010

Hear us as we pray for Your church,  O God--Your church, not ours, lest we ever forget.  Your church, seeking to do with it what You want done, made over in Your image, not our own, nor that of our culture.

  • Your church, scattered across the face of all the earth; under attack always by critics from without, though just as often ignored becasue it is not a threat to the status quo;
  • Your church, too quick on the one hand to scuttle ancient ways in the effort to regain popularity; too slow on the other hand to cling to outworn practices that were efforts to gain popularity in another era;
  • Your church, still dividing your children up along racial and economic lines;
  • Your church, comforting too often to the comfortable, afflicting too often to the afflicted;
  • Your church, flawed and sinful, yet still belonging to You.
Grant to Your church a fresh sense of Your ownership and a new confidence in Jesus Christ as leader.  Grant to Your church creative dreams and a tenacious spirit to implement those dreams.  Grant to Your church the heart and power to challenge evil rather than accept it, and the will to pass from words to deeds on behalf of the broken, the careless, the listless, the casualties of earth and politics and their own self-destructive tendencies.

Let us never be found caring only for those who in our judgement, "deserve it", for if Your grace came only to those who "deserve it", we would be grace - less indeed.  Let there be a new rhythm in Your church that sets our feet moving and enlivens our thinking and quickens our hearts, all for the sake of not only Your church, but Your world, Your Kingdom, Your creation.

Now let Your love so prevail in our common life that each one of us will gain a greater appreciation for the giftedness and uniqueness of one another, to the end that we will create within these walls and beyond these walls something beautiful in Your eyes, a living witness to the truth of Jesus Christ that sets people free.

Prayer from worship, January 10, 2009, by Dr. Roger Paynter. Listen to the entire sermon here.


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