Today, I used the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern of the long prayer in our worship service. The Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 116 gives us a summary of why prayer is necessary for Christians:
Q. Why is prayer necessary for Christians?
A. Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us, and because God will give His grace and Holy Spirit only to those who earnestly and without ceasing ask them of Him, and render thanks unto Him for them.
And this is the prayer that our Lord Jesus Christ taught us:
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
So here is our long Pastoral Prayer this morning:
Our heavenly Father, Creator of heaven and earth, we praise you for your marvelous creation. All of your creation provide not only enjoyment and recreation, but also food and drink which nourish our bodies. All around us, we see your magnificent works, which testify of your glory, power and sovereignty over the universe.
Lord God Almighty, your name is Holy, Holy, Holy. We magnify your Holy name, because of all the works that you have done in creation. But we also praise your Holy name because in your grace and mercy, you have sent and revealed your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ to save us from sin. We also give thanks to you for pouring out the Holy Spirit on us to create faith and repentance in our hearts.
Lord our Savior, we are grateful that when your Son came down from heaven, he established the kingdom of God in the world. It is a righteous and holy kingdom, and you have brought us in, who were formerly aliens and strangers, as citizens. Ever since our Lord ascended into heaven, we have prayed that your kingdom may come soon to restore righteousness in this sin-filled world.
Lord our King, because we live in this sin-filled world, our gaze is heavenward. But as we await the final coming of your glorious kingdom, we pray continually that your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven, where you reign over us, seated at the right hand of God our Father. We pray that through your appointed civil government, our President, his Cabinet, Congress, and all national and local authorities whom You have set over us, your justice and righteousness may cover the land. Grant that under the rule and protection of these authorities, the preaching and teaching of the true Gospel and the Holy Word of God may continue unhindered.
God our Providence, we give you thanks for our daily bread. For most of us, there is food and drink on the table whenever we are hungry and thirsty. You have blessed us with comfortable homes and clothes to wear. So we pray especially for our brothers and sisters around the world for whom food and drink are hard to come by. We also remember those in financial difficulties, those who are searching for work to feed themselves and their loved ones. May they always hope in you, our Great Provider.
Lord our Redeemer, we acknowledge our sins against you. They have caused untold sufferings and evil in this world. We remember those who are suffering from illness, some of which are serious.May it please You to heal the sick. Surround them with Your care and bless all that is done to help them.Since death is also a result of sin, we remember those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Comfort them with your peace.Lift up those who are cast down. Show your love to the lonely, your strength to the weak, your grace to the aged. Grant that all trials may yield the peaceful fruit of stronger and firmer faith.
As you have forgiven our sins through Christ, help us to forgive one another in the Lord. Bless the bond between husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees, and between friends. Help us mend our broken relationships.
Our Great Shepherd, do not lead us into temptation, and deliver us from the evil one, our enemy. Take us and our dear ones into Your care and keeping. Watch over our families. Help us in our daily work, and protect us when we travel.
We pray for all your children who suffer persecution for the sake of your Holy Name and Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, especially those in other lands. Comfort them with your Holy Spirit and deliver them from the hands of their wicked enemies.
We praise you for to you, your Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit belong the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.