To the glory of God!

A reflective prayer based on Luke 1:46-55

God our Savior,
We glorify You, Lord.
We rejoice in You, Father.

You have seen our needs
and have been mindful of us,
doing great things for us.

We declare that You are the Mighty One.
We honor You as the One who pours out blessings.

Your mercy
Your strength
Your mighty deeds
Your power
Your providence
Your help
Your noticing
Your remembering
All bring us to overflowing praise.

We love You, God!
Bring us Together to praise You
as a family of Your own children.

In Jesus’ Name,
AMEN.

More Than Words

Our Heavenly Father,

We join with the heavenly host,
declaring, “You are Holy!”
We make that declaration with the utmost respect.
We stand in awe of You, O God.

And we pray that as we gather we would do so
with a desire to be Holy
as You are Holy.

Forgive us when we sin
and “repent” with empty words
and ritualistic “worship.”
For we know You desire our hearts,
our broken, contrite hearts
more than our going through 
the motions of worship.

As we gather Together to worship this week,
we want to see Your Holiness.
And we want to hunger and thirst to be like You.

As we gather Together for worship this week,
we want to see Your Holiness.
And we want to experience the life change
that can happen only when You change us
from the inside-out, O Holy God.

So…
Break our hearts.
Bring us to You.
Bind us Together.

In Jesus’ name,
AMEN.

Pausing to Worship

Our Heavenly Father,

The days are so busy–
they always are this time of year.
The season from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day
seems like a time-warp.
Weeks seem like days.  

We shop.
We celebrate.
We party.
We travel.
We entertain. 

In the midst of it all,
we pause to worship You
on the first day of the week —
giving You the firstfruits of our week. 

We need this time to gather.
We need this time to worship.
We need this time with You.
We need this time for perspective. 

We need to sing.
We need to pray.
We need to comfort.
We need to encourage.
We need to commune.
We need to hear from You. 

So bring us Together, O God,

In Your name,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Prepare our hearts for worship.
 In Jesus’ name,
 AMEN.

Weak + Strong = One

a reflective prayer based on Romans 14

God our Father,

We thank You for the way
You accept us
even when we are weak and imperfect.

May we be more like You, O God.

And God we confess our wrongdoing–
in passing judgement on the weak
in withholding acceptance
in looking down on those who differ
in condemning our brothers and sisters
in causing others to stumble
in confusing the nature of the kingdom
in neglecting peace as a priority
in failing to bear with one another.

Change our hearts and lives
that we may be more like You.

May the strong and the weak be one.

In Jesus’ name,
AMEN.

Together on the Altar

a reflective prayer based on Romans 12

God our Father,

We are thankful for the opportunity to gather
as a church family to worship You.
For You are worthy of worship.
And glory.
And honor.

And we want our worship to continue throughout the week.
Long after we have left our gathering place
to go to our homes
to our places of business
to our schools.

We want to be sacrifices,
living sacrifices
to You.

We offer our bodies to You
in holy living
as a way of continuing our worship.

On the altar we think differently —
not thinking too highly of ourselves,
yet not forgetting how You have gifted us.

On the altar we react differently —
not seeking revenge,
but allowing others to wrong us.

On the altar we live differently —
we live for You
rather than for ourselves.

So here we are on the altar —
living sacrifices.
Please accept our worship as we gather.
Please accept our worship as we go home.

In Jesus’ name,
AMEN.

Over Our Heads

a reflective prayer based on Romans 11:33-36

God our Father,

We are in over our heads with You.
Your wisdom is rich.
“Rich?”
Well, God, our words just fail us.
We don’t have the words
to adequately express the depth of Your wisdom.
So we say, “rich.”

Your judgments,
the way You work with all of us —
well, that’s over our heads, too.
We see only the outward appearance.
You see the heart’s inner workings.
We see outward Jew and Gentile.
You see circumcision of the heart.
You see inward Jews.
Jews of the heart.

And so not all Jews are really Jews.
Some Jews are really Gentiles.
And some Gentiles are really Jews.
But not all Jews have rejected You.
You, and You alone know how to sort all this out.
We do not.
We get confused just thinking about it.

While this is all over our heads,
we do understand that You are calling us to unite.
To come Together as one body.

Forgive us when we claim to
have You all figured out.
Forgive us when we reduce You to
a neatly packaged formula.
Forgive us when we want to give You counsel.

Help us trust You more.
Help us listen more.
Help us worship more.

Because all glory belongs to You.
Forever!

In Jesus’ name,
AMEN.

A Word of Thanks

God our Father,

We are so thankful for the blessings
You pour our in abundance
upon a people who are sometimes
resistant and stubborn.

Why do we fight You, God?
Why do we second-guess You, God?
Why do we ignore You?

Our reasons are many,
but whatever they may be
we pray for forgiveness.

Forgive us, our Father.
Forgive us, restore us, and gather us
that we might encourage one another
as we pour out our worship to You.

In Jesus’ name,
AMEN.