Elder's Prayer - June 10, 2018
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
As we just sang, God is Holy. God is most high and He is most worthy-He alone is above all things.
Why then do we sinful men so often seek to supplant him by attempting to claim his sovereign wisdom and authority for ourselves? This is nothing new. The story is as old as creation, when Adam and Eve sought knowledge and wisdom reserved only for God. Friday was the 40th anniversary of an address given by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn at Harvard.
Solzhenitsyn was an author and Soviet dissident who was imprisoned shortly after WW II for his anti-communist comments. He survived imprisonment and later became well known for exposing the atrocities of the Soviet Labor camps and the moral poverty he observed in the 20th century.
When he gave his 1978 speech at Harvard, it was assumed he would continue to denigrate communism, however to the surprise of many, instead, he critiqued the West and what he described as an unbridled passion for freedom-to the point that nobody’s freedom would be limited. He said a sense of responsibility before God and society has fallen away. He said he recognized in the West the roots of the humanistic view of the Enlightenment that conditioned man to see himself as the center of all that exists-with no Higher Power above him.
Fast forward to today and I think it is safe to say this notion of radical personal autonomy is alive and well in Western culture. And all of us to one degree or another frequently live as if there is no God other than ourselves.
Like Adam and Eve, we sin against God when our desires are for more than Him. When we are not satisfied with his sovereign goodness and provision. When we become anxious if we do not perceive ourselves to be in total control of our lives. When things don’t go as WE planned. As we continue in worship today, may each of us do so with a repentant heart toward our attitude of independence from God.
Consider the words of David the King of Israel, who as mighty as he was, learned the hard way how much he needed God. May we respond as he did.
"As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! 12 For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. 13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!" (Psalm 40:11-13)
As we go to the Lord in prayer, may we seek his mercy with humble, repentant hearts that increasingly depend upon him at all times in all circumstances-when evil encompasses us and our iniquities overtake us may we look to Him alone for mercy.
Father, you are the Creator of all things. You know the needs of all of your creation. You know that above all we need your mercy.
And because you are a merciful God, It pleases you to demonstrate your mercy and compassion toward those that seek you with humble, repentant hearts.
May that be our hearts today. Hear our cry Lord as we confess our sins to you. Know our hearts and grant us repentance from sin.
Lord, we live in a world marred by sin. Not just the sin of others, but our own iniquities that overtake us and blind us. Sins that so often drive us away from you.
At the heart of those sins are pride and self-will. We seek to exalt ourselves instead of you. We live as if we are the sovereign rulers of our own lives. We too often seek to serve ourselves instead of you and those you’ve sovereignly put in our lives.
Rescue us, Lord. Preserve us. Deliver us from evil. Deliver us from our sins. Hear the cries of our hearts and grant us repentance. I ask this in Christ’s holy name. Amen.