Pastoral Prayer: God’s Anger at Sin

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“Lord, you have been out dwelling place throughout all generations.

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world,

from everlasting to everlasting,

you are God.” (Psalm 90:1-2)

Life and death are in your hands, Lord.

Thank you for your long-suffering patience,

because we know that when you become angry, people are consumed and terrified.

We look at our lives,

our sins and our iniquities are before us…

they are before you.

Even our secret sins,

the ones that no one knows about,

the ones that we haven’t told anyone about,

the ones that we would be ashamed to admit

– they are in the light of your presence.

And those sins make you angry.

And you are right to be angry because

it is against you we sin.

Our sin eats away at us.

Our days are passing away.

Help us to have a right fear of you,

to cease from sin

and to put our hearts right with you

because of a good, holy, righteous fear of you.

As you say, Lord, “…do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.

But… fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.

Yes, I tell you, fear him!” (Luke 12:5)

But then you remind that not even one [sparrow] is forgotten before You

and that even the hairs of our heads are numbered.

This ultimate perfect knowledge of our sin is tempered by your love for us.

So you say,

“Fear not.”

Lord, we come to you today with many needs.

Not only for forgiveness,

but strength to flee our sin.

We ask you to “teach us to number our days aright, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.”

Wisdom is sorely lacking today.

Let us be the exception because of our faith

and dependence in you and your word.

Help us to be satisfied by your unfailing love, and not in worldly things.

Make us sin for joy and be glad,

even in troubled times,

because we know that you are with us in the days of affliction.

Help us to see your good works and to see your deeds.

Let us be your servants who participate in the good you are doing in this world.

May the favour of the Lord our God rest upon us;

establish the work of our hands for us

– in our homes,

our jobs,

our church –

Yes, establish the work of our hands,

as we work out our faith in you.

Inspired by Psalm 90