A Prayer for Sabbath - July 26, 2020
Today is the Sabbath. It is your day. It is the day when you stopped from all your work of creation and were glad because of the completeness - the beauty - the perfection of what you had done.
We, too, want to stop on this day and admire and celebrate and worship you for the greatness and glory of who you are, and to admire and praise you for the wonderful things you have done.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the star which you have set in place, who are we - mere humans - that you think about us? That you care for us? That you would dare to give us something of yourself so that we are your image bearers?
Despite the way we abuse your creation, the world you have made is wondrously beautiful. Despite the problems we are facing, your daily mercies and grace are a comfort and joy. Despite our sin and rebellion against you, your love and mercy to us never cease to amaze.
But we also join our hearts and voices together again this week and cry out to you about the calamities and crises all around us. There are violent demonstrations, social unrest, and efforts being made to tear down and destroy our nation. Confusion and conflict and chaos pervade our society. There is uncertainty about our economy - the security of our jobs and finances - our livelihood - our children's schooling - even our health and safety.
We take this moment to ask that your peace would overcome the chaos and unrest.
We ask that you thwart every plan that is being formed to cause destruction in the country.
We ask that your peace fill our hearts and deliver us from fear of COVID-19.
We ask that your peace overrule the uncertainties we feel, reminding us that if you feed the birds and clothe the flowers, you will surely take care of us.
We are also mindful of the persecuted church around the world. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing even greater hardship than we are. In Turkey, Muslims are seeking to drive out Christians. The same is true in Pakistan. Chinese Christians are being told to worship the image of the Chinese leader. And Iranian Christians are targeted and arrested for online ministry. Give our brothers and sisters courage, O Lord! Protect your children in the places! Turn the hearts of the government leaders in the countries, and even do a miracle by bringing some of them to faith in you - the True and Living God.
But even in the face of all this - no matter what people do or what circumstances arise - you are greater than any darkness that Satan may cause to come against us. Greater is the Spirit of God within us than the spirit of antichrist and evil that is in the world. On the rock of our Lord Jesus Christ you are building your kingdom - building your church - and the gates of hell will not be able to stop it. So, we ask that you keep us strong and faithful as we live our lives for your day by day.
Help us to walk in your ways by acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with you, our God.
We have a great desire that there will be overwhelming evidence of your work in our lives as a church family. Cause us to be active and intentional in Bible study and prayer, both privately and with other believers. Lead us to actively share our faith in you - and show love to - people whose paths we cross day by day. Show us how to invest in the lives of our young people so that they grow into "Great Commission" Christians, actively seeking opportunities to share the Gospel at home or abroad. May we be a people who love and serve and forgive and encourage one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. And reveal to us any sin in our church family that hinders or prevents your work among us, and lead us to honest confession and genuine repentance.
We want our worship to please you.
We want our daily lives to please you.
We want your kingdom to come and your will to be done in this world as it is in heaven.
And to that end - for your glory - we offer our prayer through Christ our Lord.