Our almighty God and Father in heaven, we willingly come before you today in worship, we kneel and adore you, for you are the Great Shepherd of the Sheep, and we are the sheep of your pasture, the flock under your care. Lord, we have heard your voice (the voice of our shepherd) calling out to us, calling us by name. We recognize your voice, and we come unto you.
We come rejoicing to follow after you for as our great Shepherd you have bestowed upon us all your tender love and mercy and compassion. For you know our needs. You are familiar with all our ways. You know our weaknesses and woes. You know our tendency to wander. You know when we are hurting — when we are lonely, and downcast. You know when we are weak and worn, when we are burdened by toils and tribulations.
But as our loving Shepherd, you not only know our needs, but you tend to our needs. In your power and grace, you soothe our sorrows, you dry our tears, you drive away our fears. By your grace, you give us the power and strength to carry on.
In your loving-kindness and tender mercy, you lift the burdens from off our backs, when we are weak, then you are strong, and when we are lonely, even when mother and father forsake us, you are our constant companion at our side, you are a faithful friend and you will never leave us nor fosake us — you are withu s to the end.
We also praise you as the Shepherd of our soul — for knowing us within and without; Lord you know our heart. You know our heart’s ambitions and desires and motives; Lord you alone can read the thoughts of our minds. You know all our secrets: you know our secret sins, our secret thoughts, our secret ambitions —
And Lord, that humbles us (and shames us) for we know that we can hide nothing from you. We stand naked and ashamed before you — even as Adam and Eve in Paradise, and we seek to cover ourselves in your sight – in the presence of your perfect righteousness and holiness.
And so today Lord we come before you confessing all our sins, hiding nothing, and we seek Lord to be clothed and covered in your righteousness, in your robes which have been washed in the soul-cleansing fountain of your blood, so that what is unclean may be clean, so that which is unholy might be made holy, so that which is mortal might be swallowed up by life.
And Lord, we also ask that by your Holy Spirit you would restore unto us the joy of your salvation; grant us a willing Spirit to sustain us. Restore us and consecrate us unto your service so that our whole being, hearts and hands, lips and lives may be a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to you!
Lord, as we hear your Word this day, and as we approach your Table of remembrance, truly help us to focus on what Christ has done for us. Help us to remember and believe His precious sacrifice, and to go forth then with a renewed hope and determination to love you with heatr, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Father, we also come before you this morning with pleas on behalf of our church family. We ask for your blessing on all who are sick and afflicted, whose lives are touched by cancer and disease, who struggle with debilitating disorders. Lord, grant to each and every one your sustaining grace, your healing mercies if that be your will.
Lord we also come before you today imploring you for grace and mercy on behalf of our nation. Lord, today marks a very sad and solemn anniversary of the attacks on our nation 10 years ago.
On that sad day, thousands of people were killed in their air and on the ground, in Washington, in Pennsylvania and in New York City.
And in that moment, tens of thousands of loved ones were cast into mourning as they received news of what was happening, and indeed our whole nation and much of our world watched in shock and disbelief.
Lord, today we pray for the families of those who feel the sharp sting of that loss today. We pray for the all the victims families, and for the families of the hundred of police and fire-men and paramedics who lost their lives trying to help those who were trapped.
And among those whose lives were touched by this tragedy were members of your church, those who confessed your Name even to the very end and were able to comfort those around them even in their last hour. Lord we thank you for their faithful witness.
We pray that you would bring healing to these grieving families and that especially as they mourn that they would reach out to you while you may be found, so that they might find the one true comfort in their hour of need.
We also pray for the citizens of our nation, Lord, for today there will be moments of silence where we are called to remember. There will be prayers lifted up and ceremonies performed and yet so much of this Lord will be totally void of all substance, it will be meaningless gestures, little more than an exercise of civil religion where we glorify our great nation and our brace citizens — yet this will not bring healing to our nation.
But we do pray Lord that as citizens in our nation that we will never forget — that we will never forget that we are weak, but you are sovereign and mighty; help us to never forget that the nations of this world (even our own) are like a drop in the bucket and its people like grasshoppers, and the princes of this world are reduced to nothing.
Help us to never forget that You are God and you alone, and that ultimately, our nation’s healing, and our present and future safety and security and hope lies in our willingness to humble ourselves before you and to rend our hearts and serve you as God. So Lord, bless our nation to that end, that today the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ might be proclaimed and heard above all else, and that even today many thousands of our nation’s citizens would turn to you and be saved.
Lord we pray for your rich blessings upon our worship today. May our hungering and thirsting souls truly be fed and nourished . All this we ask, not because we are worthy to receive it, but all for the sake of the matchless name of Jesus Christ. AMEN.