This morning, Gary and Missy led the congregation in a prayer for the new year. Here is the text of their prayer:
Heavenly Father, we come to you this morning with a new year before us, and we want to dedicate and consecrate it to You. Thank You for sustaining us through 2016 and that we can be together on this first day of 2017. Thank You that You have put us together in this congregation as a family, as brothers and sisters in Christ, Your children, that we might mature in our faith together and together grow up into spiritually mature people who live out the love and forgiveness that You have so generously and sacrificially extended to us. Grant that we might see evidence of this growth in 2017—that at the end of this next year may we look back and see more of You and less of us in ourselves, and in each other.
Lord, as Your bride, may we be drawn afresh to You this year by the amazing love that You have showered upon us. Daily You woo us with the beauty and magnificence of Your creation and the gifts of life and love that we enjoy. But mainly, You demonstrated Your unfailing love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Help us to comprehend Your love. Help us to grasp that in Your presence is fullness of joy, and may we spend even more time in Your presence this year than last. For those of us who struggle to receive Your love, to believe that we could actually be included among its recipients, Lord, help our unbelief; overcome our wounds with faith.
Christ, You are a perfect, holy, and righteous King, and are worthy of our lives, but we have only one here to offer, and it passes quickly. May we see this new year not as an opportunity to spend more on ourselves and our pleasures, but rather on living diligently for You. Give us ears to hear Your voice and courage to step out at Your call. May we be self-controlled and quick to obey You. May we not shrink from the battle for men’s souls, but speak the Good News of forgiveness and eternal life with all those who need to hear it without thought of ourselves. May we speak up for those who have no voice, strengthen the weak, embolden the timid, and pursue justice for the oppressed. May we not shrink from hard work or thankless service, knowing that one day, oh victorious King, our reward will come from You.
Merciful Savior, thank you that not one sin, blemish, or imperfection was hidden from Your sight when You paid –completely—the penalty for us; so, no sin, blemish, or imperfection will alter or deter Your love for us now. Thank you for receiving on our behalf the fullness of God’s wrath due to us, satisfying forever the debt we could not pay, so that no wrath is left which can be poured out on us now or later. Lord, may we live this year in light of all that you have both spared us from and granted to us. May we not be flippant with your sacrifice. May we not take for granted what it cost you.
Father, we lift our congregation and ask You to meet the needs that are represented here. We pray for those who are struggling with physical problems, both temporary and ongoing, and ask you for healing and restoration of health. We pray for those with financial and career hardships, and ask that You would provide for them and guide them during this time. We pray for the broken-hearted, those who have suffered loss, and those crushed in spirit; please bring peace, comfort, and healing to them. Turn their mourning into dancing and give them beauty for ashes. Help us to love each other sincerely. Where there is division we ask for unity and the willingness to do the hard work of forgiveness and reconciliation—the hard work of friendship and sincere love.
Lord, we ask that the people of CFC would be people of Your Word, knowing that it is from You, and that in it is the knowledge that provides everything we need for life and godliness. May we hide Your word in our hearts and learn what it means to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow You. Where there is sin and disobedience we ask for sorrow that leads to repentance. Where there is judgement and hard hearts we ask for understanding, tenderness, and compassion. May we seek to fix each other less and love each other more. As it is for freedom that Christ has set us free, help us to walk in that freedom and extend it generously to others. May we be less interested in being right, and more willing to be wronged. May we seek our approval only from You. And may we be known as a church that is humble, welcoming, and gracious to all who enter. We ask for courage for the timid, rest for the weary, and for peace. We pray that we would all consider others more highly than ourselves and seek what is good for all, doing to and for them what we would want done to and for us, knowing that this pleases You.
Lord of the harvest, we ask that this year You would send many more workers into your harvest fields. Please provide for and equip those who desire to share the Good News. We thank You for the opportunity to serve alongside our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua. We ask for Your clear direction and wisdom in the work. We pray for health and growth in the church there, for long-term relationships that glorify You and accomplish Your kingdom work, and we pray for those who participate from the congregation here that they would be challenged and strengthened in their faith. We also lift up to you our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are suffering for Your sake at this very moment. God, please intervene on their behalf and rescue them. Meet their deepest needs; overwhelm them with the fellowship of Your Spirit. May they grow in the knowledge of Your grace and in the fellowship of Your suffering, fixing their eyes on You, the author and perfecter of their faith.
Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, we bring our hopes, fears, and desires for 2017 and put them into your capable, nail-pierced hands. You know what lies before us and we do not, but we know You, and we trust You. Thank You that we can be confident of Your care whatever this year brings.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.