A Pastoral Prayer for Mothers on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day can be a day of great rejoicing and great sadness. For pastors and worship leaders, it demands great sensitivity and wisdom as you plan on how to honor mothers corporately. I have found that the best way is to pray for them.

Here is one attempt at praying for moms who are at many different junctures on the journey:

Heavenly Father,
On this Mother’s Day, we acknowledge that
there is no nobler career than that of motherhood…
We thank you for our moms and ask that you would increase the number
of converted, heaven-inspired and praying mothers in our midst.

You call us to weep with those mothers who weep.
Therefore, we pray for those mothers who have lost a child in death.
Assure them that You are a God who is familiar with suffering
and well acquainted with grief.
Comfort those mothers who have experienced loss through miscarriage,
failed adoptions, or children who run away from all that we hold dear.
Lord Jesus, walk with those who walk the hard path of infertility…
that is fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment.
We pray for those who have lost their mothers.
Even today may they grieve their loss with hope
knowing that in every change You faithful will remain.
For those women who are single and long to be married
and mothering their own children, we pray that You would grant them
the grace to wait upon You for Your provision
and that you might provide for them more than they could ask or imagine.
We pray for those mothers who have aborted children.
Bring the healing balm of your gospel of grace and pardon to their consciences.
Thank you Jesus that there is no condemnation for those who are in you.

You call us to rejoice with those mothers who rejoice!
We thank You for those moms who have given birth this year to children.
May they acknowledge that every good gift comes from you.
We thank You for the foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms in our midst.
We rejoice with those mothers whose children are walking in the truth of the gospel.

You call us to pray for our mothers!
We pray for those mothers who are doing parenthood alone. Grant them your incredible perseverance and the encouragement of Your presence and Word.
Make our mothers women of noble character whose worth far exceeds rare and expensive jewels.” May our moms love Jesus more today than they did yesterday.
Give our mothers a proper perspective of the future. May they smile at the future as You give them grace to cast all their cares upon You.
Develop our mothers into faithful, wise and kind teachers of Your truth.
May our mothers have a proper perspective on their outward appearance Free them from an undue focus on externals for You do not look on the outward appearance, but on the heart.
May our mothers grow in their knowledge and fear of You.
We pray all of this for your great glory
and for the flourishing of our moms
and the families for which they care, in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

God is My Portion Forever

God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
– Psalm 73:26

When earthly things are taken from you,
he is the good part that will never be taken away (Luke 10:42).
When dying and withered,
he will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
Satan cannot part you from your portion.
God has him in a chain, and like a dog without teeth,
he may bark, yet he can never bite.
At death, your portion will swim out with you in that shipwreck.
Death parts all other portions from the sons of men,
but gives you your full portion.
Then will you know your portion’s true worth.
When the fire burns up the world
it will not even singe your portion.
You may stand upon the ruins of the world and sing:
I have lost nothing, I have my inheritance,
my happiness, and my God still.
– George Swinnock

The Lord is Our Portion

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
– Lamentations 3:24
Is the Lord enough for us? The secret of joy, contentment, hope and victory over temptation is resting in and knowing that the Lord is enough. We ultimately don’t need all the other things of this world.
Thomas-BrooksThomas Brooks (1608-1680) comments on the above verse:
“All the soul needs is found in God.
There is light to enlighten the soul,
wisdom to counsel the soul,
power to support the soul,
goodness to supply the soul,
mercy to pardon the soul,
beauty to delight the soul,
glory to ravish the soul,
and fullness to fill the soul.
Health is not more suitable to a sick man,
wealth to a poor man, bread to a hungry man,
drink to a thirsty man, clothes to a naked man,
balm to a wounded man, ease to a tormented man,
and pardon to a condemned man,
that this portion is to all the needs of man.
No earthly portion can suit an immortal soul…
Nothing else can satisfy the soul without God”

From the pen of George Swinnock (1627-1673):
The portions in this world are like candles
that are consumed with use and then go out.
Here is God, there is the world;
here bread, and their husk;
here substance, there a shadow;
here a Paradise, there an apple;
here is fullness, there is emptiness;
here in fountain, there a broken cistern;
here are all things, there is nothing;
here is heaven, there is hell;
here eternity of pleasure, there eternity of sorrow and pain.
Now, is not this an infinite reason to choose God for your portion?

Whatever your necessity, he can relieve it.
He is silver, gold, honor, delight, food, clothing,
house, land, peace, wisdom, power, beauty, father,
mother, wife, husband, mercy, love, grace, glory,
and infinitely more than all these.
There are all sorts of delights in him.
See God, and you see all. Enjoy God, and enjoy all.

Grasping the Wonder of Grace

mccheyne“For every one look you take at your sin, take ten looks at Jesus.”
Robert Murray M’Cheyne spoke these words to his congregation
in Scotland in the early 1800s.
We do well to heed M’Cheyne’s counsel
as we regularly confess our sins to the Lord
and experience anew the assurance of forgiveness.

The regular discipline of confession (1 John 1:9)
enables us to grasp more fully
the beauty and wonder of grace
as we are made continually aware of the depth
of our need of the Gospel.

We often include a written prayer of confession in our worship service
as a tool to facilitate an honest and thorough confession
of our personal sins to the Lord.

Our time of confession should never lead to despair,
but always to joy, since our God
is one who pardons iniquity, delights in mercy,
and casts our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18-19).

One of the high moments of a worship service
occurs when we hear the words of the assurance of our pardon:
“If your faith is in Jesus Christ,
then I can assure you, based on the sure promise of the Word,
that your sins are forgiven.”

Oh what a blessing it is to know
that we are completely forgiven, totally accepted,
and deeply loved by our Lord!

Insanity, Blasphemy, or Deity?

Have you settled the issue in your mind concerning who Jesus really is?

His high priestly prayer starts in John 17:1-5. Listen to his prayer:

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
For you granted him authority over all people
that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory
I had with you before the world began.”

There are only three explanations for everything you see and hear in Jesus’ prayer: Insanity, blasphemy, or deity.
Jesus is insane and out of his mind of which some accused Him.
Jesus blasphemed and desired to die which the Jewish leaders concluded.
Or Jesus is who He claims to be. The Son of the living God.
Who do you say that He is? Have you settled this issue in your mind?

Why not commit to settle this issue today!

For Romans 10:13 promises this: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The Ultimate Hindrance to Our Church’s Mission

I came across this challenging quote in my study of Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in John’s Gospel. What do you think of John Milne’s comment on John 17:21 and 23?

“The biggest barriers to effective evangelism according to the prayer of Jesus are not so much outdated methods, or inadequate presentations of the gospel, as realities like gossip, insensitivity, negative criticism, jealousy, backbiting, an unforgiving spirit, a root of bitterness, failure to appreciate others, self-preoccupation, greed, selfishness and every other form of lovelessness.”

Why not use the above to assess your own life and the quality of your relationships with others in the body of Christ?

A Friend in Heaven

Here are a few lovely thoughts from the inspirational Bishop of Liverpool, John Charles Ryle based upon John 11 where Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the grave:

• You have a friend in heaven of almighty power and boundless love who weeps with those who weep.
• You are thought of, cared for, provided for, and defended by God’s eternal Son. You have an unfailing Protector, who never slumbers or sleeps, and watches continually over you.
• You are a “friend of Jesus Christ” even after you die! The friendships of this world are often fair-weather friendships and fail us like summer-dried fountains, when our need is the greatest; but the friendship of the Son of God is stronger than death and goes beyond the grave. The Friend of sinners is a Friend who sticks closer than any brother or sister ever can.
– Adapted from J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of John