Our Father in Heaven,
You are our greatest joy. When we sing to you, our hearts are lifted towards you in sweet praises. As the great choir around your throne sings “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord!”, so too do we now exalt your name among the earth. For truly you are holy and deserve all glory, honor and praise.
Oh Lord, we come before you on our knees in prayer. Only on our knees are we in our proper position before you, for you are far greater than we can fathom. We come before you not with our own good deeds. Such things are filthy rags to you and cannot be before your throne. We bring only ourselves, pleading the blood of Christ which cleanses us of our sin.
At this time the Church collectively gives pause to remember the sacrifice that was paid on our behalf. For while we were yet sinners, Christ your son died for us. And this is love. When we yet deserved the wrath and curse that our sin brings, Jesus took that for us – for cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. On that fateful day at Calvary, when darkness crept over the earth and your back was turned on your son, the punishment we deserved was poured out on the only one who never deserved it. And this is love. Truly, “It is finished.” With those words we know now that we rest in your arms. On account of this we cannot help but confess his name. Our very heart sings it.
Only through your son, the great High Priest who was promised to us since eternity past, can we now approach your throne. Through taking on our likeness, Christ’s priesthood was made perfect and we can now approach your throne with confidence. Christ has removed the veil, not only from your majesty’s seat but from our very eyes that were unable to see you. For this you are most deserved of our praise and worship.
Lord Jesus, we are reminded at this time of the reason you were sent into this world to die. We inhabit a lost and dying world, and we daily seek our own desires over you. We are reminded of where we once stood before being adorned in new garments, and we are reminded that countless more remain separated from you. Our prayers now are on their behalf, Oh Lord, that you would open their heart to receive you. Holy Spirit, may you open their ears to hear the most glorious news that any lips have ever uttered.
We repent of the times when we take salvation into our own hands. The arrogant heart is an abomination to you, may you rid such arrogance from our being. May we humbly return to you, for we are scattered in the pride of our hearts. “He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate.” Surely, no heart has ever been won through lofty arguments, philosophical debate or political forum. Remind us that we are only your vessels of mercy, and merely tools in your harvest.
We know this Easter Sunday the pews will be filled with countless numbers of those who seek to fulfill their yearly commitment of attending Easter service. Oh Lord, how we pray that you would awaken their hearts to your beauty and grace. For you did not die that we may check off a box every year, but you died to purchase our whole selves for your glory. And may it be so.
Abba, Father, we lift up to you our pastors whom week in and week out preach your mercies and grace to a world that would reject it. May you fill them with your strength and confidence and speak mightily through them. “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” May your gospel boldly be preached; only through repentance and the forgiveness of sins may we be reconciled to you through your son. We pray for the pastors who have wandered from this truth, whom in their words only seek to tickle the ears of those who hear. May they return to you.
We raise up to you the leaders of this nation. We know that it is you who builds up each leader, and you alone who tears them down. You are higher than our desires or our plan, and we now ask your blessing and mercy upon those in office. We pray for peace, both at home and abroad. May our conflicts in this nation be resolved without hate, fear or bickering but in understanding and respect.
We pray for the world, all of the lost and brokenhearted, the widowed and orphans. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” May your mercies be on those who cry out to you. May your church be empowered to bring the hope of Christ to all those in need.
Gracious Father, our love today rests in you. May we continue to grow in our affection towards you, for as long as our heart beats and we are on this side of eternity.