Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Loneliness, A Prayer

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." ~ Matthew 28:20b

In some previous posts I have mentioned that I am taking a class on worship and our professor, Dr. Derek Thomas, has encouraged us to write out prayers on various subjects so that we can think about how we would lead a congregation in prayer before a sermon. This is not so that we would memorize prayers but so that we would engage in the practice of "studied prayers" and be prepared to pray well before a congregation.

Below is one I wrote about loneliness. I hope you find it helpful, perhaps something you can pray through, and perhaps a blessing to your soul.

Triune God, we have praised You this morning for Your mighty deeds. Father, You planned redemption from the beginning and You have sent Jesus to die, be raised, and be glorified for our justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. Jesus, after You accomplished redemption for us, You poured out Your Spirit on us so that we might be united to You and receive all the benefits of redemption that You won for us. Spirit, You live in us, convict us of sin, remind us of the gospel, and remake us into the image of Jesus more and more every day. Triune God, we cannot help but praise You for this. However, some here probably find it hard to praise You right now. In this sinful world, it is difficult not to feel alone sometimes.

There are times, Sovereign Lord, when we know the truth of Your salvation to us, yet, at the same time, feel so alone. Sometimes we feel abandoned by those around us and even You feel further than the moon. We feel like the psalmist who wrote, "I, O LORD, cry to You; in the morning my prayers come before You. O LORD, why do You cast my soul away? Why do You hide Your face from me?" We feel, like the psalmist, that You and our companions have become darkness to us. We ask, like David, "Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?" Show us that You are not far from us. Father, remind us of Your love. Jesus, remind us of Your promise to be with us always. Spirit, life up our souls and comfort our hearts in the joy of our salvation.

Forgive us, Father, for our unbelief and help our unbelief. Remind us of Your love, Your promises, and that if our friends leave us, even if our fathers and mothers forsake us, You will receive us. Jesus, remind us that You are our great High Priest who knows our weakness. You know what it is like to be forsaken and alone. Remind us that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Your disciples could not even stay awake to pray for You. Remind us that Peter betrayed You and all others felt in Your hour of need, save for John. Help us to hear those words You cried on the cross, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me," so that we can remember that because You were forsaken, we will never be. Spirit, comfort our souls with the knowledge that You have united us to Christ and sealed us for all eternity. Help us, Spirit, to never doubt in the dark these things we have known to be true while in the light.

O, Sovereign Lord, bring community around us to help us battle the loneliness. We need Your Church, our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we have isolated our selves, break down our pride and drive us to lean our brethren. Bring us a loving friend to listen and give us the strength to open our hearts to them. You have given us this great community of believers, help us to make use of it. If there are any here who feel that no one cares, raise up support for them from our community.

Finally, Lord, give us the strength to always praise You, even when the loneliness closes in. Even when we complain to You in prayer, lead us always back to praise. As You did with David, help us to still say, "But, I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me." Bring us back to that praise always, Lord, as You heal our hearts.

It is in the name of Jesus, the one who was forsaken for us so we do not have to be, that we pray. Amen.

By His Grace,