Hey friends - it's been a while since I posted anything. Sorry about that. Several of the folks who were in worship last week have commented on how beautiful Bruce Foster's prayer was and said they would like to have a copy. I agree. It was a powerful prayer. So I reached out to Bruce - and he graciously provided it. So here it is. It's in all caps because that's how he wrote it. Guess he really wanted us to pay attention! 😊 Thanks, Bruce!
ETERNAL GOD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, WE ARE GATHERED THIS MORNING TO WORSHIP YOU AND PRAISE YOU, AND TO OFFER THANKS FOR YOUR MANIFOLD BLESSINGS TO US, BLESSINGS WE CANNOT DESERVE OR EARN. KEEP US MINDFUL OF USING THOSE BLESSINGS TO BE A BLESSING TO OTHERS.
WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR BLESSINGS TO THIS CHURCH – FOR THE WONDERFUL PASTORING OF PASTORS TIM AND SARAH – FOR THE TALENTED MUSICIANS WHO INSPIRE US, AND THE DEVOTED AND TALENTED STAFF PERSONS – AND WE THANK YOU FOR THE LADIES AND MEN IN THE PEWS WHO HAVE STEPPED UP TO TAKE LEADERSHIP ROLES, EVEN OUTSIDE THEIR COMFORT ZONES, AND TO SUPPORT THE CHURCH’S WORK FINANCIALLY AND WITH THEIR PHYSICAL EFFORT.
WE LIVE IN A STRANGE TIME, LORD, WHEN THE NORMS OF BEHAVIOR SEEM TO CHANGE CONSTANTLY, BUT NEVER FOR THE BETTER – WHEN REFUSING TO CALMLY DISCUSS A MATTER OF DISAGREEMENT IS PROCLAIMED AS STANDING ON PRINCIPLE --- WHEN RUDENESS AND DIRECT PERSONAL CRITICISM IN NORMAL DISCOURSE MAY BE APPLAUDED AS AN ACCEPTABLE TACTIC OF STRENGTH ------ WHEN A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS HAS BEEN DISTORTED TO ALLOW WIDESPREAD OWNERSHIP OF MILITARY-STYLE RAPID-FIRE WEAPONS. TRUTHFULNESS IS OPTIONAL.
WE PRAY URGENTLY FOR INSPIRATION AND GUIDANCE FROM YOUR HOLY SPIRIT AS WE TRY TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO - AND A WAY BACK FROM - THE HORRIFYING RESULTS OF SUCH WIDESPREAD OWNERSHIP AND MISUSE OF GUNS. HELP US, LORD, TO RAISE UP STRONG AND PRINCIPLED LEADERS AT ALL GOVERNMENT LEVELS WHO WILL PRAY AND LISTEN FOR YOUR GUIDANCE ON MAKING THE NECESSARY CHANGES TO OUR LAWS TO RESTORE SAFETY AND ORDERLINESS IN OUR SOCIETY AND TO CALM THE FEARS OF EVERYDAY CITIZENS.
FATHER, AS YOUR APOSTLE PAUL SAID, WE FAIL TO DO WHAT WE SHOULD DO, AND WE DO WHAT WE SHOULD NOT. WE SAY THAT WE WANT TO FOLLOW YOU AND SERVE YOU, BUT THEN WE WANDER AWAY FROM THE PATH YOU CLEAR FOR US. WE AFFIRM OUR BELIEF THAT YOU, IN YOUR GRACE AND WISDOM, ALLOW US TO BE TEMPTED AND TO EXPERIENCE CORRUPTION, SO THAT WE UNDERSTAND HOW WE HAVE SINNED AND HOW DESTRUCTIVE THAT BEHAVIOR CAN BE, AND THAT WE WILL BE MORE DEPENDENT ON YOU FOR SUPPORT --- BUT WE SEEM NOT TO LEARN FROM THOSE EXPERIENCES AND WE CONTINUE OUR SINFUL AND SELF-DESTRUCTIVE WAYS. WE ARE SO THANKFUL, LORD, FOR YOUR GRACE, YOUR MERCY AND YOUR PROMISE OF FORGIVENESS OF OUR SINS, AND FOR YOUR CONTINUING SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE THAT STRENGTHENS US AND HELPS US TO RESUME THE WAY YOU HAVE SET FOR OUR LIVES.
IT IS WINTERTIME, FATHER, WHEN THE SHORTER TIMES OF DAYLIGHT AND THE WEAKER SUNSHINE GIVE US THE BLUES, AND MORE URGENTLY, WHEN OUR NEIGHBORS WITHOUT ADEQUATE SHELTER OR HEAT, OR WITHOUT ENOUGH TO EAT, ARE SUFFERING. KEEP US ALWAYS MINDFUL OF OTHER’S NEEDS, LORD, AND INSPIRE US TO OFFER SUPPORT FOR THOSE IN NEED, AS WE ARE ABLE.
FATHER, WE ARE AWARE FROM THE BULLETIN, OF MEMBERS OF OUR CHURCH FAMILY WHO ARE IN NEED OF HEALING, OF RESTORED STRENGTH, OF RENEWED COURAGE. WE KNOW, ALSO, THAT MANY OTHERS, GATHERED HERE AND WATCHING THE BROADCAST, QUIETLY HAVE THE SAME CONCERNS. WE LIFT ALL OF THEM UP IN PRAYER FOR YOUR ATTENTION TO THEIR NEEDS, YOUR CARE AND YOUR BLESSINGS.
OUR LORD JESUS INSTRUCTED HIS DISCIPLES IN PRAYING, AND WE OFFER NOW A REVISED VERSION OF THAT PRAYER AS CONTAINED IN THE BULLETIN:
OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, UPHOLD THE HOLINESS OF YOUR NAME. BRING IN YOUR KINGDOM, SO THAT YOUR WILL IS DONE ON EARTH AS IT’S DONE IN HEAVEN. GIVE US THE BREAD THAT WE NEED FOR TODAY. FORGIVE US FOR THE WAYS WE HAVE WRONGED YOU, JUST AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE WRONGED US. AND DON’T LEAD US INTO TEMPTATION, BUT RESCUE US FROM THE EVIL ONE.
FOR THE KINGDOM, POWER AND GLORY ARE YOURS NOW AND FOREVER. AMEN