Monday, January 3, 2011

A Prayer for New Mercies

Scotty Smith, pastor at Christ Community Church in Nashville, is one of my all-time favorites. I love his prayers that he posts on Facebook each day, and here's one that I could pray every morning.

A Prayer for Wandering Hearts in Need of Jesus Today

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." Lamentations 3:19-24

Heavenly Father, I know I’m not alone in beginning this day hungry and grateful for your promised mercies. I already feel scattered and fragmented, and the sun has yet to rise. My thoughts are racing and my heart is divided. Yet you greet us today, like every day, not with a list of things to do, but with reminders of who you are.

You, our God, are filled with great love for your children, including me. You are faithful and your compassions will never fail. Like Jeremiah, I choose to remember and think about your loving-kindness as this day begins. Nothing else has the power to center and settle my heart like your grace.

And as convinced as Jeremiah was of your great love, Father, I should be even more so. For he lived in anticipation of the coming of Jesus and the wonderful promises of the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). But I live on this side of the these life-changing grace-filled events.

Indeed, Jesus, you did come and you accomplished everything necessary for our salvation. You are reason I don’t despair this morning. You are the reason I run to God and not from him. You are the reason I’m not consumed with guilt and paralyzed with fear. You offered your obedience as mine and you took the judgment I deserved on the cross. Because of you, God has forgiven my all my wickedness and will never remember my sins against me, (Jer. 31:34). You became sin for me, Jesus, and, in you, I have received the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).

It’s only because of you I freely join Jeremiah in lamenting my wanderings without falling into shame and self-contempt. Your grace not only frees me to rest in your love, but also to recognize and repent of my unbelief and waywardness. O, for the Day I will never sing again…“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.”

Jesus, don’t let me wander far from this good news. I need the gospel every day and every hour. When I lose sight of you, make the gall more galling… make the bitterness more bitter… make downcast feel even more downcast. I don’t want to ever get used to feeling disconnected from you.

In view of your steadfast love and never-failing compassions, I proclaim, “The LORD is my portion.” I will wait for you, my God. So very Amen, I pray, in your powerful and tender name.

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