A Pastoral Christmas Prayer

Friday, December 19, 2014

*Today's post is by Harvest elder Bob Bashawaty*

Dear Gracious Heavenly Father,

We come before you to worship you and to praise your holy name. We come to declare your glory and proclaim your love and mercy and grace. We come to honor you and to exalt the name of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. From eternity past, you determined to redeem a lost and wretched humanity. From eternity past, Jesus chose to pay the price of that redemption. Throughout history the prophets spoke of your promise to send a Deliverer, a Savior, a King. Isaiah wrote these familiar and precious words, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and bring forth a son, and will call him Immanuel." Which being interpreted is, "God with us." So during this season and throughout the year we celebrate the miracle of the birth of your Son Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, who left His throne of glory to take on the form of a man, to walk among us sinless proclaiming the gospel of salvation through faith in Him. Then, O Father, in an act of unspeakable love, Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin, bearing the full weight of your wrath so that we might have eternal life. Then, in the glory of your power He rose from the grave defeating sin a death and ever lives as our high priest and intercessor.  Oh what a blessed reality, dear Father, to know that we are loved with an everlasting love, that you will never leave us or forsake us, that your grace is available and sufficient to strengthen us and comfort us and empower us.

Knowing this, Lord, we are deeply grieved when we fail to honor you with our obedience. We love you so much but so often we are drawn away by our own lusts, tempted by the world and the flesh to sin against you and who we are in Christ. It is in you that we live and move and have our being. Every breath we take is a gift from you. We are totally dependent upon your grace for life, and yet too often we choose our way over your way. Father, as a church, as individuals, we confess this sin of rebellion against you. We are so grateful that we can come into your presence anytime with a broken and contrite heart, acknowledge our sin to you and receive forgiveness and cleansing. We thank you that the guilt and the penalty for sin are paid for by Jesus; that there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ. We thank you that by the power of the Holy Spirit we can repent of our sin and live a life that glorifies you and testifies Jesus Christ.

Father, I pray now for our church. As a body of believers I pray that our fellowship is pleasing in your sight. I pray that our commitment to teaching and preaching without compromise the word of God would define us in this community. I pray that we would be diligent to guard against the influences of the world trying to weaken our stand for the truth. Give our leadership wisdom and discernment to expose and defeat the attacks of the Devil as he attempts to destroy. Help us to maintain our unity as brothers and sisters in Christ, welcoming all who name the name of Jesus as Lord and Savior.

And Father, I pray for each member and attender at Harvest that first and foremost they understand the gospel and know Jesus Christ as Savior. I pray that their relationship with You would grow more and more intimate as they exercise the disciplines of bible study and prayer. I pray that growing in their Christian walk would be an all-consuming passion, knowing that they are servants of the most high God, equipped by Him to be useful for the Kingdom of Heaven. I pray, Father, for each person here to be a minister for Christ; serving one another in love and humility.

I know, dear Lord, that there are those who are hurting and struggling. It may be health issues, or relationship issues, or personal habits that are stealing the joy of their salvation. For these folks I pray for an abundance of your grace and an overwhelming sense of your presence. I pray that they would find their comfort and peace in you, and I pray that those around them would be sensitive to their circumstances and be willing to minister to their needs.

And finally, Father, I pray that each of us would live in anticipation of the return of Jesus Christ. Your promise is that the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We live in a world that is cursed, that denies God and delights in iniquity. We live in a world that is temporary and is headed towards judgment. Our one hope, our blessed hope, is the return of Jesus Christ to set up his kingdom; to put an end to sin, death and Satan, to rule in righteousness and ultimately create a new heaven and a new earth free of any stain or impurity. Each generation has hoped that your return would be soon, and we as well echo the words of the Apostle John: “Even so come, Lord Jesus.” 

In your precious name we pray. Amen.


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