On this day we rejoice in the glory of resurrection.
The tomb is empty.
Death could not hold the Lord Jesus. His body saw no decay. His enemies did not win. The earth could not contain him.
We are emboldened by the power of resurrection.
We are encouraged by the hope of resurrection.
We are enlightened by the truth of resurrection.
So help us, dear God, to have a daily expectation that we will encounter the living Lord Jesus wherever we live.
Help us to live in submission.
And empower us to bring this message of resurrection into every dark and desperate corner of this world.
In the name of the resurrected Lord Jesus.
[download a PDF “printable prayer” version here]
In the days leading up to Easter we want to contemplate and understand more fully the suffering death of the Lord Jesus whereby we are forgiven and his glorious resurrection whereby we are empowered to live.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
You have invited us to give you thanks, and this is what we wish to do. We are living in a time of great anxiety, but you have offered us a way out of anxiety. We long to know your loving care.
It is easy to say we want to be Christ-centered, but the way we think and behave betrays the fact that we are most often Christian-centered. Churches that are only church-centered will never be Christ-centered. The remedy, in part, is to reserve time, energy, and desire, dedicating them to contemplating and worshiping Jesus Christ every day. This prayer, “Praise to Christ the Lord” (text and audio below) uses the seven “I am” passages in John, and other New Testament texts. (From Prayers for Our Lives.)
Audio version, read by Alice Kinyua of Nairobi, Kenya –
Praise to Christ the Lord
Lord Jesus Christ, we adore you and praise you. Where would we be without you? We long to live in your glory and your goodness.
You identified yourself with God the Father when you said “I am.” You explained your life and purpose by saying…
“I am the bread of life”*—and so we know we live through you.
“I am the light of the world”—and so we no longer live in the darkness of evil and ignorance.
“I am the gate for the sheep”—and so we know we are protected from spiritual predators.
“I am the good shepherd”—and so we are well fed, and led, and protected.
“I am the resurrection and the life”—and so we can live above the fear of illness and death.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life”—and so we see a clear way forward toward abundant life.
“I am the true vine”—and so we know staying connected to you is the most important priority we must have.
Lord Jesus, you are “the author of life.”* You came so that we may have life, and have it to the full.†
We can stand before God the Father because of your great sacrifice. You made peace through the blood of your cross, in order to reconcile all things to yourself. ‡
We are overwhelmed. We are in awe. We are humbled. We wish to worship and follow you all the days of our lives. We want to know you—yes, to know the power of your resurrection and participation in your sufferings, becoming like you in your death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.§
*The 7 “I am” passages are John 6:35-51; 8:12; 10:9; 10:11-14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1-5.
* Acts 3:15
† John 10:10
‡ Colossians 1:20
§ Philippians 3:10-11
Here in my home state of Wisconsin, Tuesday is voting day. In all the political commentary these days, once again there is one quality that is almost never mentioned: wisdom. Young Solomon pleased God when he said, “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” That is the issue for today, especially because the next president of the U.S. will be not just the most powerful person in the U.S., and not just in the world, but in all of history (given ever-increasing military might). Here, then, is a prayer we may pray for any election day…
You have said in your word that whenever we know we need wisdom, we should ask for it, and that you will give it generously.
As we take the extraordinary step to vote for our local, regional, and national leaders, we pray for your wisdom from above.
Teach us to pray. That is what Jesus’ disciples said to him one day, and it should be our longing as well. Jesus’ answer was the so-called Lord’s Prayer. In it is a world of truth, a pattern of behavior, and a perfect picture of a godly disposition. It is good to let these words sink in…
Our Father in heaven…
Whenever we pray we should address God in personal terms.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
Great Lord of heaven and earth,
We pray for our world.
Only God knows the future, and, more importantly, is the caretaker and Lord of the future. In Christian faith there is a bedrock truth that enables believers to move into the future with assurance: providence. The God of the Bible is above all reality, encompassing in his vision and embracing in his power our past, present, and future. God purchases no calendars, he keeps no schedule on a smartphone, he doesn’t develop project charts. He is never surprised by what happens, but is alternately pleased and displeased by what does happen. God talks us toward a good future, pointing us toward a life goal that no human being would have conceived. The good path is always just the next few steps in the direction of the good end.
A Prayer for the New Year
[link below for downloading PDF “printable prayer” version, 8″ x 10″, suitable for display]
In these weeks leading up to Christmas we long to know the meaning, the power, and the mystery of that great mission whereby you came to save us from our sins.
Help us to focus on the good news that has caused great joy for people around the world and across the ages. We are in awe that the coming of the Lord Jesus has shaped the history of the world and has changed untold millions of lives. We need this gospel in troubled times lest we become cynical, doubtful, fearful, or vengeful. Strengthen our faith during challenging times.
You have invited us to give you thanks, and this is what we wish to do. We live in a time in which there is great anxiety, but you have offered us a way out of anxiety. We long to know your loving care. We pray to you because there is no one so good, so high, so holy, and so merciful as you.
Thank you that you have invited us to bring our petitions and our requests to you. Who else can we go to for wisdom, or for hope, or for guidance? We pray for the victims of violence wherever they may be found. We pray for those in authority, that they would seek and find the wisdom that comes from above.
We pray for peace in the world. And we pray for peace in our own hearts, a peace that proceeds from your forgiveness, the wholeness that comes from your restorative touch.
We thank you for creating a world you called “good.”
We thank you that despite the evil that has entered the world and still wages war in our own souls, your own goodness is undiminished.
We thank you that we have seen
honor that is bolder than shame…
mercy that is wider than cruelty…
truth that is straighter than deception…
faith that is stronger than treachery…
hope that is deeper than desperation.
We thank you for the ordinary things: the bread we receive today, the breath by which we live today.
And we thank you for the extraordinary things: the strength we didn’t know was possible, and the discovery of truths we didn’t know we didn’t know.
We thank you for the immeasurable grace shown to us in the coming of Jesus Christ, the hope of the world.
In His Name,
Illness is not only distressing, but confusing. Many people have a hard time knowing what to pray when they are seriously ill. The Scriptures make it clear that God listens to the cries of our hearts when we are in distress (the Psalms especially demonstrate that). It is honoring to God whenever we talk to him. If you do not know what to pray when you are seriously ill, here is one possibility…
My body is not working like it used to. I do not like being weak. I do not like pain. I do not like uncertainty. Thank you for letting me tell you this.