Elder's Prayer - May 9, 2021
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
Unlike Horatio Spafford, writer of It Is Well, with My Soul, and some other hymn writers, Thomas Chisholm, author of Great is Thy Faithfulness led a pretty ordinary life. He did not write this hymn during a period of intense grief or after encountering God in a profound way. Instead, he found truth in the words he encountered in Lamentations 3:21-24:
21This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
You are truly great, perfect in power, thought, purity, understanding, compassion, grace, justice, holiness. You sovereignly rule and reign; holding all of life in your hand.
Yet, we often try to find our satisfaction and hope in something, someone, ourselves. Our understanding of situations and circumstances can determine our joy, and cause us to lose sight of the truth of who you are.
Your word, though, reminds us that our hope is fixed in our knowing and trusting you. So, we repent of the wrong ways in which we think, understand and respond to life. We seek to look to You completely.
We have hope, because your lovingkindnesses never cease
Even today, we see your goodness.
You have brought us, your body, together. We love one another, enjoy fellowship with one another, sing together, hear from your word together; because your goodness, in the work of your Son, has brought us together in your gospel.
You have brought rain, that refreshes, renews and cleanses; that we might have provision. You provide for us abundantly.
Yet, we are dry, because you’ve provided us a space to meet together for the sole purpose of enjoying you together.
We have hope, because your compassions do not ever fail.
We are so often slow in showing mercy, insufficient in our compassion, lacking in our empathy.
Yet, you never fail in your compassions. In that while we were still sinners you graciously sent your Son to die in our place. His death accomplished salvation for us; completely, perfectly; It Is Finished.
Even now, when we sin, and turn to you for forgiveness, you are always ready to forgive. You forbear with us in our failings, because you do not see our sin, but the perfect righteousness of your Son, Jesus Christ. Your compassions never fail!
We have hope, because we anticipate your mercy on us every day.
We also look, anticipate and depend upon your mercy every day, and you condescend to us every day.
We examine our morning individually and find a multitude of ways we have sinned against you. Yet, you are merciful.
Each day that you tarry in sending your Son fully and finally, is a day of mercy for the soul that hears your Word and comes to call you Father.
Each day that we wake and wonder how we might endure the worries and fears of this world, you draw us to think on you and you are merciful to encourage our souls in the truth of your gracious sovereignty.
When we sin against one another, your spirit graciously draws our hearts to respond in repentance and forgiveness; reconciling us in ways that seem unexplainable to a lost and dying world.
Ultimately, we have hope, because Great is Your faithfulness, Father. Your faithfulness never wanes, your faithfulness has no end, your faithfulness is as the Sun in the morning; we see it afresh every day.
Our joy and our hope is in you O Lord! We increasingly lose sight of the fears, failings, joys and lusts of this world, and we fix our gaze upon you. We have settled souls because they are settled and satisfied in You. You have granted us that joy in the work of your Son, Jesus Christ.
It’s in his name we pray -- Amen