Pentecost Sunday – May 19, 2013
Rev. Randolph Kesler
THE PASTORAL PRAYER
Loving Father, You constantly amaze us with your attention for when we dare open our eyes to your grace, we see your hand of providence at every turn. A few times in our lives, when we are most in need, you pull back the curtain of time to disclose to us the symmetry of your carefully wrought plans which You have drawn to scale just for us; plans which will bring us intimate blessing in your sovereignty and glory to your Name.
We remember the teaching of the saints of old who taught generations of your children that our chief end is to glorify You and enjoy You forever. And we remember that the rule for doing so is found in the reading and studying of the Written Word of God. Forgive us, O gracious God according to our willingness to repent, for we long ago discarded that affirmation and substituted our own experiences based on our feelings as the central calling of our lives.
Gracious Father, we thank You for meeting us at the Healing Gates of our lives. When we face illness, You sustain us. When we need guidance, You give us wisdom. When we are confused, You bring us clarity- if we turn to You.
How mighty is your name in all the earth and how wondrous are Your benefits for your children. When we finally come to ourselves in the pig pens of our lives and turn to You, You receive us as treasured members of your family and enlarge us with your purpose.
O God, we content ourselves indeed with crumbs from your table of life when all along we hold in our hands holy invitations etched in the ink of the blood of Jesus which, if activated, would give us honored seats at your banquet. But we content ourselves with mediocrity and swell with pride at our “earned accomplishments” relishing in our arrogance rather than prostrating ourselves before our Lord from whom all blessings flow.
Now, Lord God of Hosts, hear our prayer for our graduates this day. We celebrate their lives, their accomplishments and their love for you. Bless them, one and all, that their lives may return blessing to You a hundred fold. Use them as You have gifted them. We do thank You that You have loaned them to their mamas and daddies, to their spiritual family in this congregation; loaned them to us for awhile that we may help shape them and form your Son within them. Guard them now as they test their wings, keep them safe in every way, give them springtime and summer to grow and develop. But grant them autumn for reaping and winter for resting and, in all things, grant them obedient and seeking hearts as they remain faithful to You across all the years of their lives. For we commit them now to You Lord Jesus.
THE PASTORAL PRAYER – MAY 13, 2012
Almighty God, everlasting Father, Son of God, whose names are Faithful and True, Spirit of holiness, in whom we find peace and whose presence guides us,
You ever abound in steadfast mercy and You are ever faithful in providential love- always seeking the best for us, doing what is good for us,
In this hour hear our prayers.
We bring before You this morning the great neediness of our lives for we are mindful that You care even about the tiniest details that foster concern and worry for us. We know that we fret over much that is beyond our control and we fuss and fume over situations which we refuse to confront. How foolish we are –those observing our lives might think we have no heavenly Father who cares for us and who watches over our every need.
O Lord God, the forces of disease strongly beset some of us today for we suffer from illnesses which defy diagnosis or from ailments for which a cure is not a possibility. We find it hard to bear such mysteries because we have been taught to believe that human resolve and intelligence can handle everything in this world. Forgive us, O Great Physician, for such arrogance for well do we know that your great and awesome providence is working our your will in our lives for our good and, most assuredly, for your glory.
O Risen One, conqueror of death and the grave, draw near to those this day who have given over to death one of their children.
In these cloudy times grant them peace for their journey and solace for their breaking hearts. I pray that the hope You long ago planted in their hearts will continue to flourish and, at the same time, give them wisdom to entertain their brokenness and wander a time in their valleys of darkness, remembering that You are God and that they don’t have to be anything but your little children who hurt and sob in your great arms.
We call to Your attention those servants of yours involved in the ministry of military defense. Place over them the dome of your protective presence. Encourage them in their separation from loved ones and grant them safety as they confront the face of evil.
There are those who face difficult decisions and whose lives are complicated by confusion and lack of purpose. O God hold them tight. We remember those whose hearts ache for dreams unfulfilled. Yet we thank you this day for those whose futures are bright and exciting, for whom long years of study now seems to have become reality.
And we cannot forget your children whose opportunities in life seemed cursed, whose families are broken, whose lives are crippled, and who find routine difficult.
We do not forget those who need to be encouraged and who need to be understood.
Humbly, we bring these concerns to your throne of grace.
Receive us now not because of our worthiness but because of your steadfast love and abounding mercy in the name of Jesus Christ.
Reverend Randolph Kesler
Loving Father, may all that lives praise your holy name. We thank You for hearing us when we pray and we praise You for allowing us entrance into the majesty of your light, into the peace of your presence.
Some of us are heartbroken by the tornadoes of our personal lives- crushed by disappointments and squeezed by the mold of the culture around us which threatens us with certain destruction. Forgive us, O Lord, for we live as practical atheists who lope along in life hoping for the best and making things worse because we refuse to cry out to You in our lost ness. Rather, we look to friends or self help ideas through which we find neither grace nor peace. Yet, when our hearts are broken, you cradle us in your comforting arms.
When we are puzzled by the mysteries of life, You gently nudge us toward the truth.
When we zombie around from day to day – like the walking dead- You continue to seek us and lead us toward life and freedom from sin. We thank You for meeting our needs and answering our petitions.
We extol You for enabling us to dance with joy and feast with thanksgiving before your throne.
How can we lose heart, O Wondrous God, our Majestic Glory? When we remember past years, your grace, your provision, your providence, your power, your presence in our lives, we dare not doubt that You will care for us in the future as You have the past.
Help us to look toward You this week as You see us through all our struggles. Increase our faith when we are weak, stiffen our backbones when storms beset us and teach us always to live- not by our power sure to fail – but in the strength of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.