Elder's Prayer - January 7, 2018
Please find below the notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
Over the last week, each of us has probably found an occasion to reflect on 2017 and spend some time also looking forward to 2018.
Maybe you have composed a long list of evidences of God's grace in your life this past year. Maybe you have reconsidered some setbacks or unfinished projects. Maybe you have spent some time planning for 2018.
Reflection is good, especially when we reflect from a God-centered perspective. Likewise, looking forward and planning is good when we do it also from God-centered perspective.
I'm going to pray for both our reflection and our looking forward.
As we look back, thank you for the many evidences of your grace in our lives this past year. You have provided, you have sanctified, you have grown us, you have spared us, you have been the source of joy, you have been close to us through trials. Thank you Father for your faithfulness to love and to sustain us despite our ingratitude, our stubborn notions of independence, and our distrust of your will clearly defined in scripture. Even in the face of our willful and sinful rebellion against you our creator, you remained steadfast, loving, and merciful. Thank you for your grace and mercy.
Forgive us for being careless with our time, our laziness, our procrastination, our proclivity to waste time and when our pursuit of entertaining ourselves is more pervasive than our pursuit of knowing you better. Help us to see the dangers and sinfulness of idleness and give us a desire to root it out of our lives before the promised devastating consequences are realized. Make us aware of our sin of busyness when we are quite active, but fail to do what is most important.
As we look forward to this upcoming year, help us to focus on goals, purposes, priorities and deeds that have eternal value and ramifications.
Provoke us to live like we are your workmanship, created for good works, to bring you glory. We know a lost world is watching. Make us zealous for good works that might result in others being saved for your glory. Help us to see that all of life’s tasks can be done for your glory. Remind us of Jesus' call to let our lights shine before others, so they might see our good works and give glory to the Father who is in heaven. Give us an enthusiasm, a passion, a motivation to bring glory to you, by doing good to and for others. Shape our thoughts away from focusing on tasks to be completed and instead on people being helped and influenced for gospel purposes.
Grow us in our rightful fear, awe, and admiration of you Lord. Cause us to live according to Paul's teaching in Ephesians 5 when he tells us to "look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time." Help us appreciate the time you give us as a gift. Help us to steward that gift wisely and according to your will, Lord. Help us to be Christ-centered as we consider what needs to be done and less focused on our fleshly desires. Create in us discerning spirits that recognize that we will give an account to you God for how we use the time you give us. Make us a people like the wise and faithful servant in Jesus' parable of the talents, who longed to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant". Help us organize our lives in 2018 accordingly. Teach us to submit our plans before you and trust that it is your purpose, not ours that will stand. Help us be content in your perfect purposes and outcomes this upcoming year.