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Three Prayers

praying.jpg“They stood in their places and confessed their sins.” Nehemiah 9:3 NIV

Raw repentance sets the moral stage for revival. Without it, Nehemiah knew that the sacredness of his triumphant return to Jerusalem , the original destruction of the temple and walls many years before, and Israel ’s interminably long captivity made no sense. Thousands of Jews marched in parades, offered sacrifices and played music but the most important—-and, difficult—-part of the festivities was repentance. Repentance is just as critical today. What makes your sanctuary sacred? The keyboard, drums or pews? The people? What value beyond dollars and cents is attached to each element? Is everything jaded or irrelevant? A Nehemiah prayer today would revolutionize the church. Let us swallow hard and begin:

An Elderly Person’s Prayer

Forgive us who are elderly among us for all our sins. We have focused on our loneliness so much that we have forgotten your companionship. We worry because we’re scared of the future. We worry about insurance and Social Security so much that we fail to pray and leave it in your hands. Forgive us for paying more attention to ourselves than others; for not reaching or praying with others. Forgive us for not interceding for others, for not sitting down with others and counseling them about your Word. We have allowed our experience with you to shrink and age so it no longer is our source of joy. We excuse ourselves from worship because we are too tired and we have too many aches and pains. We criticize the youth for their music, forgetting that true worship doesn’t come from the outside but the inside. We live too much in the past, forgetting that you are a God of the present. We base our faith on what used to be instead of what is. Forgive us for our lack of faith in your Word. We read it but our eyes get too heavy and our minds too tired to make it real. We sit too quickly, stand too slowly, speak too softly, and pray too hesitantly. We have permitted personal disappointments in life to fill us with bitterness. We get more exercised over the prayers we think you didn’t answer than the prayers you did answer. Give us new strength to pray, to worship, to rejoice, to lead, to teach.

A Busy Person’s Prayer

Forgive us who are in the prime of our lives. We confess our covetousness and greed. We neglect our families so we can make more money. We think too much about accumulating stuff. We live in a permanent state of distractedness. We are too tired to worship or to come to church, but it never stops us from working. Forgive us for criticizing, gossiping, lack of prayer and reading the Word, for not living our lives by the principles of the Word. Forgive us for failing to tithe and closing up our hearts to the needs around us. Forgive us for our silence at wrongdoing, for failing to witness, for finding excuses not to do your will like singing in the choir, teaching, participating, lifting others up and submitting to spiritual authority. Give us the courage to recommit ourselves to you, to remember why we started coming to church and living for you in the first place. Help us to love you, our families, our brothers and sisters in the Lord like we should. Help us to make decisions based on the Word and righteousness, not on feelings or selfish thinking. Lift us up above our cars, clothes, homes, gadgets and trinkets, and revere you.

A Young Person’s Prayer

Forgive us who are still young people. Forgive us for hurting other kids because we don’t like them or we think they’re stupid. Forgive us for going along with the crowd to be liked. Forgive us for hating, lying and instigating trouble. Forgive us for using profanity because we think it’s funny; for making lewd and destructive comments about others; for speaking against those you have set over us. Forgive us for piling on with insults until we drive people away. Forgive us for overlooking kids who are hurting, the new kids, the scared, shy and less talented, and those who aren’t as good looking as we are. Forgive us for pretending we’re ok when, underneath, we know we’re not. Forgive us for being too intimidated to worship, thinking it’s not cool to love the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Forgive us for watching immoral movies and shows; for filling our ears with music that mocks everything we know is right; for letting a warped society tell us how to dress and what looks good. Forgive us for rebellion, disrespect, selfishness, ingratitude, disobedience; for criticizing anybody and everybody and anything and everything, not knowing that our bitterness is not because of them, but spews out of our own hearts. Help us to love you again, to forgive each other. Erase the rage, the hatred and the arrogance.

Lord, forgive us for all these sins. Fill us with the fruit of the Spirit. Fill us up to overflowing with your Holy Spirit. Electrify our worship services with your incredible presence. Let your love flow through us to a lost world. Help us tear down the strongholds of Satan; to share the wealth of the gospel to sinners; to live in harmony, respect, love, forgiveness, truth. We can never be worthy to enter these gates in worship in your temple, but you make us worthy. Your blood, your sacrifice, your love, your compassion, your truth, your Word, your transforming power is what we live for. You are our everything.

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