Intercessory Prayer: Praying with the Reformers

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Call to Prayer:  Ephesians 6:18

Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…

TRANSITION: Let us join our hearts together as these men lead in prayer, using the prayers of several of the Protestant Reformers. At various moments in the prayers you will hear the words, “Lord in your mercy,” to which we invite you to respond, “hear our pray.” And now, let us pray.

Intercessory Prayer No. 1

Merciful God, heavenly Father, who commanded us to come together in your name, and in the name of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, to pray to you for all things which we desire for ourselves and for others.  We pray that you will renew our hearts with your Holy Spirit and…that for all the necessities of your congregation and of all peoples we may call upon you, and request whatever is good for us unto the glory of your name.  [Brief pause]

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Intercessory Prayer No. 2

Heavenly Father: we pray … chiefly for your congregations.  Deliver and preserve them from all false ministers whom you have not sent; but raise up for them ministers who with all faithfulness and diligence will seek your scattered sheep and bring them to Christ our Lord, their only Good Shepherd; and who will seek to feed their flocks faithfully, that all ungodliness, heresies, all false doctrines and perverse service of God may be taken away, that in the unity of true faith and knowledge of your Son, we may grow and go forward to all things that please you through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Cranmer, 1548)

We pray that all pastors, shepherds, and ministers, to whom you have committed the proclamation of your holy Word, and the charge of your chosen people, may both in their life and doctrines be found faithful, setting before their eyes only your glory; and that by them all poor sheep that wander and go astray may be gathered and brought home to your fold. (Bucer, 1543) [Brief Pause] 

Lord, in your mercy:  hear our prayer.

Intercessory Prayer No. 3

Almighty God, and most merciful Father, we humbly submit ourselves and fall down before your Majesty, beseeching you from our hearts that this seed of your Word, now sown among us, may take such deep root that the burning heat may not cause it to whither nor the thorny cares of this life choke it, but that as seed sown in good ground it may bring forth thirty, sixty and a hundredfold, as your heavenly wisdom has appointed.  Increase our faith, O merciful Father, that we may not turn from your heavenly Word.  Increase in us hope and love, with careful keeping of all your commandments, that no hardness of heart, no hypocrisy, no compromise, nor enticements of the world may draw us away from your obedience. (John Knox)  [Brief Pause]

Related:  Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy

Lord, in your mercy:  hear our prayer.

Intercessory Prayer No. 4

Almighty God, as the devil ceases not to soothe us by his allurements that we might become insensitive, grant that your Word may shine in our minds and hearts and that we may be roused by your Spirit to attend to those warnings of your prophets, by which you would bring us to the right way, that we might not perish.  May we so steadfastly exercise repentance through the whole course of our life, that we may ever be displeased with ourselves on account of our sins.  May we examine ourselves daily, that we may turn your wrath away from us, until having at length finished our warfare, which we have to carry on continually with our sins, we shall come to that blessed rest which has been procured for us in heaven by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Calvin)    [Brief Pause]

Lord, in your mercy:  hear our prayer.

Intercessory Prayer No. 5

Almighty God, inasmuch as…we are taught to make our prayers and supplications for all people, we pray not only for ourselves, but beseech you also to restore all who are still in the miserable captivity of blindness and error to the pure understanding and knowledge of your heavenly truth: that we all with one consent and unity of minds may worship you our only God and Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Most strong and mighty God, destroy the counsels of the ungodly, and rid the world of tyrants, so that no counsel or force can resist your eternal gospel and everlasting will.  Look upon your cause, for it is yours, O Lord; and bring to nought all those things that are against you and your holy Word.  Do not let the enemies of your truth oppress your Word or your servants who seek your glory. (John Knox, 1554) [Brief Pause]

Lord, in your mercy:  hear our prayer.

Intercessory Prayer No. 6

Lord God, we pray also for all those in authority, for kings and princes, for presidents and prime ministers, for all civil rulers and officers, and for those who exercise authority in your Church.  Grant that all these may execute their office according to your will and that they turn away from all trivial things and pursue all good things, that we all may serve you with a quiet mind in all holiness and righteousness. (Bucer, 1543) [Brief Pause]

Related:  Thanksgiving Prayer

Lord, in your mercy:  hear our prayer.                                      

Intercessory Prayer No. 7

O Lord God, we know that one day a horrible darkness and ignorance of  your Word will come, that many will forsake Christ and faith and true prayer and genuine worship, even as it has happened in the past.  We grieve to think of the state of your church.  But, O God, we humbly beseech you never to allow the true faith which you have delivered to us utterly to perish among us.  Preserve your faith that it may be delivered pure and uncorrupted to our posterity.

We beseech you, seal your law in us, lest we pervert your Word, or twist its natural and true meaning with some sinister interpretation, as has happened in the past and happens even now.  Confirm our hearts with your Holy Spirit, that your truth may shine in us, that through our ministry your truth may proceed pure and uncorrupted to those who will come after us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Melancthon) [Brief Pause]

Lord, in your mercy:  hear our prayer.                                                         

Intercessory Prayer No. 8

O Father of all mercies, who has begun your work in us, endow us with all fullness of wisdom and knowledge that we may be assured in our hearts and fully know how the Spirit who has raised up our Lord also enlivens the faith within us with like power and strength.  Through him we have also risen from the dead according to his mighty power, which works in us through your holy Word.  Help us to grow in the knowledge of your dear Son, and to remain firm in the confession of his blessed Word.

Give us the love to be of one mind and to serve one another in Christ that we be not afraid of the darkness, nor the rage of the enemy.  Guard us so that his craftiness may not displace our pure faith. (Luther) [Brief Pause]

Related:  O God, Our Help in Ages Past

Lord, in your mercy:  hear our prayer.                                                                                                

Intercessory Prayer No. 9

Almighty God, inasmuch as you have deigned to gather us into your church, grant that we may never turn aside in the least from the purity of your worship.  May we always regard what pleases you, and learn to direct our doings and our thoughts in obedience to your truth, and worship you purely both in spirit and in external forms, that your name may be glorified. (Calvin)

Give us strength constantly to subdue the rebellious and stubborn flesh, and to make it obedient to the Spirit; to cast away all temporal and carnal fear; to resort often to prayer and to be earnest and fervent in our praying; to mortify our own wills and lusts, and utterly give them their leave.  Give us a willing and cheerful mind, that we may gladly suffer and bear all things for your sake. (Coverdale)  [Brief Pause]

Lord, in your mercy:  hear our prayer.                                                                            

Intercessory Prayer No. 10

O Merciful Father, give us grace with fervent hearts to never forget the unspeakable love of you and your Son; that our faith and trust in you may be strengthened; that love in us towards you and our neighbor may be kindled; that above all things we may love you, the wellspring of all goodness; that we may serve our neighbors in love, care for them, and do them good, according to the love your dear Son has bestowed on us.

Give us patience and steadfastness in adversity, strengthen our weakness, comfort us in trouble and distress; grant unto us, that in true obedience and peace of mind we may give over our own wills to you, our Father, in all things, according to the example of your beloved Son; that in adversity we do not complain, but offer up ourselves to you. (Coverdale) [Brief Pause]

Lord, in your mercy:  hear our prayer.

These prayers we offer, dear Father, as did those men of faith who first prayed them, in the name of your beloved Son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen and Amen.

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