A Prayer for Vision

God our Father,

You are eternal.
You are yesterday, today, and forever.
You are then, now, and always.
From everlasting to everlasting You are God.

You are Creator.
You created the heavens and the earth.
You created humankind.
And it was good. Very good.

You are the Re-creator.
You re-create the new heavens and the new earth.
You re-create Your people.
You make all things new.
And it will be good. Very good.

And so, our God, we sit in Your presence.
In the presence of the Eternal One who knows tomorrow.
In the presence of the Creator.
In the presence of the Re-creator.
We sit.
We sit still.
We sit quietly.
We listen.
We wait.
We seek.

We want to dream.
We want vision.
We want to throw off human limitations.
We want Your vision to be cast among us.

What would You have our church to be?
What goals do You desire?
What values do You want us to accept?
What mission do You want us to begin?
Where are we going?
Where are You leading us?

Vision.
Give us vision, O God.
Your vision.
Your vision for Your people.
Your vision for Your church.

We are listening, God…

We are listening…

We are listening….

In Jesus’ name,
AMEN

Praying through the Story

O Lord our God,

May Your name be praised.
May You be exalted above all.
May You be praised!

You have created for us.
You have chosen us.
You have given us fresh starts.
You have delivered us.
You have taken us places.
You have always kept Your promises.
You have seen our misery.
You have heard our cries.
You have parted waters for us.
You have defeated our enemies.
You have led us, day and night.
You have come down and lived among us.
You have spoken to us to instruct and command us.
You have provided our needs.
You have invited us to enjoy generous blessings.

But…
We have been proud.
We have been stubborn.
We have ignored Your instructions.
We have refused to listen to You.
We have forgotten the ways You have blessed us.
We have been bull-headed and defiant toward You.

And still…
You forgive.
You offer mercy and grace.
You are slow to get angry with us.
You are generous with Your love.
You refuse to abandon us.
You continue to lead us, day and night.
You send Your Spirit to us.
You continue to provide our needs.
You provide for us, bless us, and multiply us.
You subdue our enemies.
You pour out blessings on us.

But…
We disobey.
We rebel.
We turn our backs on You.
We reject Your messengers.
We are bull-headed and defiant.

And so…
You let us turn from You.
You watch as we suffer at the hand of our enemies.

But then…
You see and hear our condition.
You respond with mercy.
You liberate us.

And again…
We immediately forget You.
We refuse Your direction and help.
We suffer.
We cry out

And again…
You see and hear.
You respond with mercy.
You rescue us.

But…
We are slow to learn.
We refuse to follow.
We stubbornly rebel.
We are faced with the consequences.
We are faced with what we deserve.

Great and Mighty God…
Awesome God…
O God who makes and keeps promises…
Your mercy and grace are as consistent as our sin.

Can we stop this roller coaster?
Can we break this cycle?
Thank You, merciful God for intervening.

As we review our story with You,
May we be moved to repent, confess, and change our behavior.

We pray in Jesus’ name,
AMEN.

**this prayer was inspired by Nehemiah 9

 

Praying to Hear God

Great God in heaven,

We want to listen to Your Word,
giving your our full attention
and our complete devotion.

We want to hear You in Scripture,
clearly understanding Your message
and grasping the meaning.

We want our time of preaching to be a time of worship,
when we hear Your Word, see You revealed
and respond with our hearts and lives.

We want to hear and see You,
understanding, grasping,
and getting to know You.

We want to give You the honor You deserve,
asking You to direct our thoughts and actions
and take control of our hearts, minds, and bodies.

We want to listen attentively with open hearts and minds,
that we might see something we have neglected or missed
and be willing to accept the new truth we have seen.

We want all these things.
We really do, O God, but…
We get distracted.
We get set in our ways.
We make up our minds and close our eyes.
We miss You in the reading.

So we ask You to speak clearly,
so that the message is unmistakable
and the meaning clear…

So we can see You,
and discover Your will.

So we can respond, saying Amen! Amen!

And giving You the honor You deserve.

We pray in Jesus’ name,
Amen! Amen!

**this prayer was inspired by Nehemiah 8

 

Praying with Expectation

O God,

We come before you with reverential fear and respect.
We understand–as best we can–Your magnificence.
We grasp–as much as is possible–Your glory.

We come before You with appreciation.
We acknowledge You as our creator and sustainer.
We acknowledge how You gift us to prepare us for kingdom work.
We acknowledge how You join our hearts as Together we serve.

We come before You with expectation.
For You are magnificent.
You are glorious.
You are creator and sustainer.
You are giver of gifts.
You are the source of unity.
And You lay matters on our hearts.

With respect for who You are
and appreciation for how You work
We gather with expectation that
You will shape our identity
and mold us into Your image.

Help us find our place in your kingdom mission.
Help us appreciate the gifts You have given us
and the gifts You have given others.

Help us pull together–
All of us, even those who at some point
lost their identity and lost their way.

Help us settle into
kingdom work,
kingdom living, and
kingdom mission.

And may You be at the center of our faith community.

We pray in Jesus’ name,

AMEN.

**this prayer was inspired by Nehemiah 7

 

Praying in the Face of Repeated Challenges

O God, Our Refuge and Shield,

It seems they never stop…
Spreading slanderous accusations
Assigning to us sinister motives
Twisting our words
Intimidating with stares and messages.

We know what they are trying to do…
Discredit us
Discredit You
Sidetrack us
Slow Your work.

Help us stay focused.
Help us be consistent.
Help us walk with You.

We need discernment…
to know who is crying out with real needs
and who is just trying to get us off course.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference…
between real needs
and mere distractions.

So show us the way, O God.

Stir our hearts…
deliver us from being content
with being satisfied with church
that accomplishes reasonable projects
and raise us a people who will be satisfied
with nothing less than victories
that can only be explained by Your presence.

The days are passing quickly…
and like those who built that wall
we want to build something to honor You.

Let us stay focused.
Let us stay consistent.
Let us face the repeated challenges.

We pray in Jesus’ name,
AMEN.

**this prayer was inspired by Nehemiah 6.

People are Everywhere

O God, Our Father,

People are all around us–
Your creation
Your image
Men
Women
Girls
Boys
They are all around us…
But we do not see them.

We have a church to build.

People are crying out all around us–
Your creation
Your image
Men
Women
Girls
Boys
They are crying out all around us…
But we do not hear them.

We have a church to build.

People are all around us–
We see them when they have something to offer us
We see them when they can further our cause
We hear them when they affirm, flatter, and praise us
They are all around us…
And we use them for our selfish purposes.

We have a church to build.

People are all around us–
People
They are people
People, not resources
People, not commodities
People, not objects
They are all around us…
Struggling, marginalized, without voice.

We have a church to build.

People are all around us–
May we see them
May we hear them
And may we realize
They are the church we are to build.

O God, Our Father,
Shake Your house
Until we see them
Hear them
Know them
And love them.

You have a church to build.

In Jesus’ name,
AMEN.

**this prayer was inspired by Nehemiah 5.