Nevertheless, we have promised to do it. And anything that must get done must have a time and place and a plan. Luther is recorded as saying at one point that he had so much to get done that he couldn’t not spend at least two hours in prayer each day just to get it done. If only we had the same inclination.
I have found that “A Pastor’s Daily Prayer” in the TLH Agenda (pages 117–120) to be a helpful daily resource for keeping to a daily regimen of prayer for all. It misses nothing. It includes a confession of our own sin and failings, a thanksgiving for family and brothers in office, requests for God’s help for all members in need, for church officers, for Sunday School teachers, for our seminaries and universities, for the government.
I don’t stick to it word for word every time. Sometimes just beginning this prayer calls to mind specific petitions for family, friends, members, or the church at large, and it is simple to include it at those times. The point is that by beginning and just doing it, brings to the forefront all those things we need to pray for. It’s almost as if, the Spirit is helping us in our weakness, when we do not know what to pray for as we ought, that through these prayers, the Spirit takes our sighs and groans and brings forth prayers to our mediator, Jesus Christ.
So here it is in full:
O Almighty God, merciful Father, I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess unto Thee all my sins and iniquities; especially do I acknowledge my indolence in prayer, my neglect of Thy Word, and my seeking after good days and vainglory. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them; and I pray Thee, of Thy boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of Thy beloved Son, forgive me all my sins, and be gracious and merciful to me. Yea, cleanse me through Thy Spirit by the blood of Jesus Christ, and give me more and more power and willingness to strive after holiness, for Thou has called me that I should be holy and blameless before Thee in love.
I thank Thee also, O faithful God, for my family, my wife and children, and for all my relatives. Thou hast given them to me purely out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. Preserve them in good health, and give them their daily bread; but above all keep them in Thy grace and in the true confession of Thy name unto the end.
Thou, O God of all grace and mercy, hast also called me, a poor unworthy sinner, to be a servant of Thy Word and hast placed me into that office which preaches the reconciliation and hast given me this flock to feed. In and by myself I am wholly incompetent to perform the work of this great office; and, therefore, I pray Thee, make me an able minister of Thy Church. Give me Thy Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge, of grace and prayer, of power and strength, of courage and joyfulness, of sanctification and the fear of God. Fill me with the right knowledge, and open my lips that my mouth may proclaim the honor of Thy name. Fill my heart with a passion for souls and with skillfulness to give unto each and every sheep or lamb entrusted to my care what is due unto it at the proper time. Give me at all times sound advice and just works; and wherever I overlook something or in the weakness of my flesh speak or act wrongly, do Thou set it aright, and help that no one may through me suffer harm to his soul.
Glory and honor, praise and thanks be unto Thee, God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for all the mercy and faithfulness Thou hast shown to this congregation. Thy Word has not returned unto Thee void, but Thou has here gathered a people that knows Thee and fears Thy name. Give me Thy Holy Spirit, that I may at all times see the good things in this congregation and praise and thank Thee for them. Bless Thy Word in the future, that it may preserve the believers in Thy grace, convert those that are not yet Thine, and bring back the erring and delinquent. Gather Thy people as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and be Thou a wall of fire about Thy congregation.
Graciously take into Thy fatherly care the sick and the needy, all widows and orphans, and all who are in any trouble, temptation, anguish of labor, peril of death, or any other adversity. Comfort them, O God, with Thy Holy Spirit, that they may patiently endure their afflictions and acknowledge them as a manifestation of Thy fatherly will. Preserve their soul from faintheartedness and despondency, and help that they may seek Thee, the great Physician of their souls. And if any pass through the valley of the shadow of death, suffer them not, in the last hour, for any pain or fear of death, to fall away from Thee, but let Thine everlasting arms be underneath them, and grant them a peaceful departure and a happy entrance into Thine eternal kingdom.
Furthermore, I pray Thee, Thou wouldst at all times fill the offices of this congregation and its societies with upright, honest, and sincere men and women, who have the welfare of their congregation at heart and are able to help me in my office with their counsel and their deeds. Unite their hearts with me in love for the truth; give them the spirit of prayer for me and for their congregation, so that we may in unity and harmony build Thy kingdom in this place.
And since hypocrites and ungodly people are often found within the visible church organization, I pray Thee, do not permit Satan to disrupt this congregation through such or to hinder the efficiency of my office. If there a such in our midst, let Thy Word be like unto a hammer upon their hearts of stone. Have patience with them, but if they persist in their unbelief, hypocrisy, and wickedness, do Thou reveal them, so that they may be put forth from Thy congregation. Give me a forgiving heart towards all, and help me, especially for their sake, to speak and act cautiously.
Preserve and keep the youth of our Church from falling way and joining the world, and keep them from the many sins of youth. Thou, O Lord, knowest how difficult it is to lead the young on the right paths and to divide the Word of Truth with respect to them; do Thou, therefore, give me particular wisdom and skill to be stern without estranging their hearts, and mild and charitable without strengthening them in frivolity and unruliness.
Mercifully bless the education and instruction of the children, that they may grow up in Thy fear to the praise of Thy name. I commend unto Thee also the nursery of our church, the Christian day school. Hinder and frustrate all enemies of this institution. May I ever regard and accept it as a precious gift of God! Give our congregation able and apt teachers. Preserve them form an indecent and evil walk and conversation. Bless the work of our Sunday school teachers, and help them to lead the little ones into the Savior’s loving arms.
To Thy grace and mercy I also commend all my brethren in office. Arrest and suppress all discord and dissension. Give me a brotherly heart towards all and true humility, and help me to bear with patience their casual weakness or deficiencies. Grant that they also may act as true brothers toward me.
Keep and preserve our whole Synod, its teachers and officers, true to Thy Word. Cause the work of our Synod to grow. Guard and protect all members of Synod against sinful ambitions, dissension, and indifference in doctrine and practice. Bless all higher institutions of learning, our colleges, seminaries, and universities. Accompany all missionaries on their dangerous ways, and help them to perform their work. Gather the elect from all nations into Thy holy Christian Church, and bring them at last into Thy Church Triumphant in heaven.
Grant also health and prosperity to all that are in authority in our country, especially the President and Congress of the United States, the Governor and Legislature of this State, and to all Judges and Magistrates. Endue them with grace to rule after Thy good pleasure, to the maintenance of righteousness and to the hindrance and punishment of wickedness, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
Hear me, most merciful God, in these my humble requests, which I offer up unto Thee in the name of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.