Elder's Prayer - May 12, 2019
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday
One of the challenges of living as human beings on this earth is that we all are inherently selfish. We have a tendency to want what we want when we want it and that can make for some messy relationships and circumstances, wouldn’t you agree? Not just with each other, but especially with God, who is the one most offended by our selfish sinfulness.
As Bret has mentioned in recent sermons, our natural bent is away from God, and I would add is instead to self and the desires of our flesh.
This plays itself out in a myriad of ways in our lives and has since the Garden when Eve, lured and enticed by her desire, yielded to temptation.
Circumstances have changed, but the heart of man has not. As the prophet, Jeremiah says of it: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.
We would be without hope, helplessly mired in our own sin except for one thing: one man, our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Hebrews 4, beginning in verse 14 we are reminded that “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God”, Scripture tells us he is the God-man - fully human and fully divine and therefore, (verse 15) "...we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."
So what does that mean for us? It means we can: (verse 16) "...with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
What is our greatest need? To recognize and repent of the selfish, sinfulness of our hearts that destroys not only relationships with one another, but especially with our Holy God. Our need is to be reconciled to God as well as to each other.
It is at the Cross of Christ and the throne of grace where we receive the reconciling mercy we so desperately need.
As we go to the Lord in prayer, let’s take a moment to examine our hearts, confess our sins and seek God’s mercy which he gives abundantly to those who confess and forsake their transgressions.
Father, you who created us know our hearts better than we do. You know that every intention of our heart is evil and self-serving. Yet, you have chosen to redeem us. You poured out your mercy on us through your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, who willingly gave his life as a ransom for many.
By your Spirit, you cleansed us and you renew us daily when we fall. Your word tells us if we deny our sin, we deceive ourselves. But, when we recognize and confess our sins you are faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Hear our prayers of confession today, O Lord.
Each of us is unique in our particular sins, but what we have in common is that we do sin daily. And it is daily we need your mercy.
Search our hearts and restore us, grant us repentance that we may be increasingly conformed to the image of your Son.
In whose name we pray, Amen.