Let's say sorry to God, confident to do this because of Jesus
Holy and righteous God, we confess that like Isaiah, we are a people of unclean lips, unclean hands and unclean hearts. We've broken your law so many times, so many ways and are guilty of pride, unbelief, self-centredness and idolatry. Affect our hearts with the severity of our sin and the glory of your righteousness as we now acknowledge our sins in your holy presence.
We have had other gods before you.
We have worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator.
We have sought satisfaction in this world’s pleasures rather than in You.
We have loved to praise our own glory more than yours.
We have murdered in our hearts.
We have often destroyed our neighbour with our tongues.
We have been quick to uncharitably judge others.
We have considered revenge when we were sinned against.
We have committed adultery with our eyes.
We have loved temptation rather than fighting it.
We have lusted after unlawful and immoral pleasures.
We have justified our lusts by using the world as our standard.
We have stolen what is not ours and coveted what belongs to others.
Our lives overflow with discontent, ungratefulness, and envy.
We have complained in the midst of Your abundant provision.
We have sought to exalt ourselves through owning more.
We have lied to you and to others.
We have told distorted truths, half-truths, and untruths.
We have despised the truth to make ourselves look better.
Even in our confession, we look for ways to hide our guilt.
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? How shall we answer you?
We lay our hands on our mouths. We've no answer to your righteous wrath and just judgment.
But God You have mercifully provided one for us.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
And so we thank you and we praise you that Jesus is ours - with all His righteousness given to us - and we are His - with all our sin being upon Him!
Speaking to our Father in Heaven
We'll pray in three parts (feel free to use this flexibly in your setting):
1. Turn this passage into praise and prayer for ourselves and others in the church family:
[Hint for praise: everything in bold]
[Hint for prayer: flip this round to see what we are like without God's help ... ignorant, foolish, fruitless, weak ...etc. May seeing that spur us to prayer!]
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14)
2. Pray for particular situations:
- Donna (just started a course of chemo)
- Sylvia A (inoperable cancer)
- Rachel & bump (due date approaching at the end of May)
- those lonely, grieving, feeling down or even depressed
- those trying to find new ways of working or new ways of making home situations work!
- other needs you are aware of in our church family life (there are plenty!)
3. Pray for the Robinsons (Jonathan, Naomi, Yohan, Micah & Lydia) in Senegal
- thank the Lord for their good health ... pray that would continue
- It sounds like many more of their church can't access online services than is our situation. Pray for those who can't that they'd hunger for God and seek Him in His word more at this time.
- language studies (Jonathan - French) (Naomi - Wolof) while also homeschooling in the small house!
- direction as to what is next for them.
Let's listen to God as He speaks to us
But let's take a moment to pray first.
As You speak to us through you Word and by Your Spirit
Father, please would you teach us
Lift us up.
In Jesus Name
[It may be that some of us find Sunday increasingly difficult. We're so longing to be able to gather together again.
Singing this song, while it may have given voice to our faith in Christ and our joy in His salvation, may also have been painful and made our current isolation seem worse.
There's no way round this.
But we're not alone.
The Apostle John knew about this.
He wrote in 3 John: 'I have much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.'
Do you know what he means?!
Rather than try to escape or dull the pain, let's take a moment to grieve before the Lord, to repent of ways we may have been casual with the blessings we used to enjoy, to ask for His help to value what He values more.
And let's long for the day when the scattered are gathered ... not merely the end of lockdown, but the Revelation 7 gathering of all God's people to His eternal feast. What day that will be. May our present pain help us to look for that joy more. Till He comes.]
So, let's end in hope as we look to Jesus - the Lamb on the throne who is King, forevermore.