A Prayer for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-3 ESV

Most loving Lord Jesus, your loud voice and tear wiping hand, together, give us the courage and compassion as we need to live as faithful advocates for human life. How we long for the day when “death shall be no more”—death in all of its expressions. Today we are especially thinking about the death of unborn children.

All of your promises are “trustworthy and true,” so we will neither despair nor retreat in the face of unconscionable evil and overwhelming need. Jesus, give us gospel courage to rise and contend against the dark oxymoron called “legal abortion.” Those two words simply do not belong together. Because you are making “all things new,” with undaunted hope we will fight the good fight of faith for children who are still being knit together in their mother’s womb.

There is a Day coming when abortion will be no more. In light of that Day, give us wisdom. Give us strength. Give us fire. Give us perseverance. Give us the sufficient grace we need to advocate for unborn children in this day—in our communities and among the nations of the world.

We also cry out for gospel compassion. Jesus, show us how to love and care for women and men whose stories are marked by abortion—either as victims or agents. Only the gospel is sufficient for the guilt. Only the gospel can bring healing. Only the gospel can transform an agent of darkness into a warrior for justice and mercy.

Jesus, we don’t just long for the Day of no more abortions. We also long for the Day of no more miscarriages. Sin and death have violated every domain of shalom, including the realm of birthing. Our hearts break for those families who would love a child to your glory, but must endure the pain of giving up their children before birth. Show us how to love and serve them well. Extend your tear-wiping hand through us.

How long, Jesus, before the last abortion and the last miscarriage? How long, O Lord? Until that Day, we also ask for courage and compassion to adopt the millions of orphaned children who have safely made it into this world. May our zeal against abortion be matched by our zeal for adoption. Surely there is room in our hearts and homes for these precious image bearers of yours. Surely the gospel is big enough for this calling too. So very Amen, we pray, in your holy and loving name.

~ A prayer by Scotty Smith, 1/23/2011

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A Prayer for Days When You Don’t Feel Like Praying

I’ve been having a hard time focusing on my prayer and Bible reading this morning, so I turned to this prayer by Scotty Smith again. I need the Spirit to intercede for me and for Jesus to give me grace to read and understand His Word today.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Romans 8:26-28

Dear Father, this is one of those days when I could create a long prayer list and methodically go through it, but I’m not sure I would really be praying. I could go through the motions, but to be quite honest, it would be more ritual than reality… more about me, than the people and situations I’d bring before you. I’m feeling a bit distracted this morning, scattered and not very focused.

It’s one of those days I’m glad the gospel is much more about your grasp of me than my grip on you. It’s one of those days I’m grateful your delight in me is not contingent upon my delight in you. It’s one of those days I’m very thankful for the prayer ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Gracious Father, I have no problem or reluctance in acknowledging my weakness this morning. In fact it’s freeing to know your Spirit doesn’t abandon us when we’re weak, but helps us in our weakness. Just as Jesus constantly prays for us, the Holy Spirit faithfully prays in us with “wordless groans.” Though I don’t understand everything that means, I do get the part about you searching our hearts and you knowing the mind of the Spirit, and that brings me great comfort today.

No one knows our hearts better than you, Father. And you search our hearts to save us, not to shame us… to deliver us, not to demean us… to change us, not to chide us. You know my dignity and my depravity, my fears and my longings, my struggles with sin and my standing in Christ. No one but you knows how little or how much of the gospel I actually get.

And at this very moment your Spirit is praying inside of me… perfectly tuned into my needs and in total harmony with your will. I cannot measure the peace that brings. I surrender right now, Father. I will gladly groan to your glory. I know you are at work for my good in all things, including this season.

All I have to do is look at Jesus and know these things are true. You have called me to life in him and you will complete your purpose in me… and in each of your children… and in the entire cosmos. I do love you, I would love you more. So very Amen, I pray, in Jesus’ merciful and faithful name.

A Prayer for Days When You Don’t Feel Like Praying.