Elder's Prayer - October 13, 2019
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
In an effort to serve this body better and be a more faithful shepherd, I read a small book this week. Small books are my favorite kind of book. The focus of this book was on prayer - not so much on private prayer but instead focused on the vital importance of corporate prayer. What we are preparing to do now and what we will do for an extended time tonight during our evening service. The author contends that many churches lack in the area of corporate prayer.
To help make his case, the author pointed readers to Matthew 6 to look more carefully at how Jesus instructed his disciples to pray and how that should be applied in the local church today.
Matthew 6:9–13 where Jesus said…
9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. (ESV)
Very familiar words to most everyone in this room from Matthew 6. YET, The first 2 words struck me most significantly this week – “Our father in heaven,”
Our father. Our father. Yes, he is MY father. He is also Your father if you are a believer in Christ. But collectively, he is OUR father in heaven.
I was particularly struck this week by both the personal and corporate nature of this model prayer starting out with OUR father.
What a privilege every believer has to call the creator, sustainer and judge of the universe “our father”. Using a personal pronoun Our before father highlights that we are children of God, while also being siblings. What an astounding honor it is to pray privately AND corporately directly to God who instructs us together to call him father.
Heavenly Father, we are your needy children. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for relentlessly inclining your ear to hear us as we pray both privately and corporately.
We are made in your image, but sin mars every part of our being. You are the sovereign ruler, yet, you call us sons and daughters while instructing us to call you our Father. You show us compassion even though we willfully rebel. You cover us with love when we earn your just wrath. You provide for our every need and bestow upon us good gifts we don’t deserve. You discipline us for our good and your glory. We need your help. We are powerless, while you are all powerful. We are weak, you are strong. Our view is partial and impaired, while you see all with perfect clarity. We forget, you are all knowing. We grow weary, you never slumber. We hold grudges, you perfectly forgive. We grumble, you extend mercy. We envy, you offer unmerited favor. We are lazy, you hold all things together. We are anxious yet you are patient and longsuffering. We are sinful, yet you are holy. We are selfish, yet Christ is the model servant to the point of death on the cross.
All of us are prodigal sons or daughters, yet you are a good Father who extends unconditional love. Thank you, Father, for your grace and mercy. I ask that you would cause our hearts to grow more grateful and our minds more aware of your kindness to gather us together as brothers and sisters in Christ. Help us better appreciate the privilege we have to address you as Our father in both private and corporate prayer.