(Prayed at Cole Community Church on January 3, 2016; the passage read and preached was Mark 10:17-31)
Your grace is enough for us. All we need is Your life in us, drawing us to You, forming us into something new, living through us as though we are broken jars. We need You and nothing else. Hallelujah! All we have is Christ, and that is enough for us. Hallelujah! All we have is the Spirit, and that is enough for us. There is so much wealth in You, the riches of Your life and love are overwhelming to us. We are wealthy, with immeasurable treasure in Heaven, because of Your infinite grace toward us. We worship You, Father, Maker of heaven and earth, and we thank You for You give us life and have given us the grace of this wonderful and beautiful creation to enjoy. Jesus, we worship You as Son of God and King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and we thank You for You became poor and have given us the gift of Your saving body and precious blood so that we could be made one with one another and with You. Spirit, we praise You as Lord, and as comforting, empowering, life-giving presence, and we thank You for being near to us and drawing us to the Father and the Son and for the grace of Your presence in our lives. Father, Your grace is so much more than we could ask or imagine. We are wealthy beyond our imaginations because of You.
And yet, Lord, we confess that we settle for the filthy rags of the riches of this world. We settle for the false imitations of wealth that we see around us – for money, and cars, and houses, and toys – when we could reach out for You and receive so much more. We confess that we are greedy, and like the rich young man in today’s passage, we often trust what we can gain and possess and control more than we trust You, Who are so wild and uncontrollable and good and true and beautiful. Father, by the power of Your Spirit in our lives, in this new year, would You make us poor in spirit, and allow us to mourn, and form meekness in us, and make us hungry and thirsty for righteousness, and make us merciful, and purify our hearts, and use us to make peace, and make us worthy to face persecution. As You work in us in 2016, bless us with true riches, the gifts that come from Your grace: the Kingdom of Heaven, comfort from You, the earth as our inheritance, the satisfaction that comes from experiencing righteousness, mercy, a vision of God, the name of sons of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, and a great reward in Heaven. Take our anxieties and fears this year and fill us with hope and trust that Your Kingdom is coming and Your will will be done.
We lift up those in need, as we begin this new year:
- the persecuted church
- the homeless, orphans, widows, refugees in our world and in our community
- families and individuals dealing with disabilities, disease, financial struggles
- those dealing with grief
Father, thank You for Art and for his ministry here at Cole. Thank You for his gifts, for his willingness and ability to communicate Your Gospel truth clearly and accurately, for his heart for the part of the body of Christ that worships here at Cole. And today, as we come to this passage about wealth, we thank You for his experience in working with people as they try to make wise decisions with their lives and money. I pray, this morning, that You, Father, would bring all of that together so that we would hear from You, by the power of Your Spirit, and be changed as we seek to give up our trust in riches and seek treasures in Heaven.
As we prepare to worship by offering our riches to you, we remember that all that we have comes from You and belongs to You. Would You take this offering and use it to advance Your Kingdom, to glorify Yourself, and to change our hearts to love money less and to trust in and love You more.
Father, You have been good to us. We lift up this year and ask that You would continue Your work of making us new. In 2016, would You make us more and more into a community that seeks what You seek, loves what You love, cares for those for whom You care, and lives and ministers out of the riches of Your grace. We praise You, Father, Son, and Spirit, and we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.