"Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:16b-18

Lord God, you are our almighty heavenly Father who has loved us so much that you sent your one and only son to die in our place, to take the punishment we deserve for our sin, and to bring us the righteousness we so desperately need in order to enter your presence. Thank you so much for this precious gift and the eternal future with you that we have to look forward to because of it. Lord, please redirect and refocus our eyes that we might fix them on this eternal glory, which for the moment is unseen, but which will one day be revealed to us as we take the places in your kingdom that Jesus has bought us with his blood.

Please forgive us Lord for the times that we have been so easily distracted by what is seen - the short-lived pleasures of this world, the selfish desires of our hearts, and the temptation to grab comfort and security in this life at the cost of peace, joy, fulfilment and restoration in the next. Please help us to be so engaged with your Word and your Spirit that we would see the true temporary nature of these things that are 'seen', and would understand the significance of the eternal nature of what is unseen. In short, Lord, please lead us away from temptation and deeper into your presence.

As we experience pain and suffering in this world, Lord, we ask that our renewed focus on what is unseen and eternal would help us to bear our struggles in your strength. Whether we experience organised persecution for our faith, intense and traumatic illness or bereavement, or simply the daily struggle of life in a decaying mortal body, we thank you that even the most severe trials we experience are but light and momentary troubles when compared with the eternal glory that far outweighs them all. And so we ask for your strength to help us to persevere and for your Spirit to inwardly renew us day by day, though outwardly we are wasting away. May our lives bring you glory, and may your grace indeed be sufficient for us, as your power is made perfect in our weakness.

Lord God, as we look out at the world around us we are reminded of just how weak we are. We see thousands of people on our doorstep here in Kingston living lost lives like sheep without a shepherd as they refuse to acknowledge you, and the task of bringing the gospel message to them often seems too much for us. Lord, we are weak, but we can do anything through you who gives us strength, so we pray that you would please lead us and direct us as we seek to reach the people of Kingston. Thank you for the great blessing of the new Cornerstone Hub on Canbury Park Road, and we ask that you would bless the work that goes on there. As we seek to refurbish the building we pray that you would provide for our needs practically and financially. Help us to be sacrificial in giving our time, money and gifts to the use of that building for hosting events that provide opportunities for people to hear about Jesus. And guide us, and our elders especially, with godly wisdom to know what events to put on and where resources should be used.

Thank you for the events that are already being run at the new Hub, and in particular we bring before you the Soul and Rooted socials meeting there every Friday. Please be with the leaders who give up their time every week to be there and give them wisdom and strength as they get to know the young people and teach them the gospel. Please be working in the hearts of those young people by your Spirit and lead them to saving faith in you, that they may join us in the eternal glory to come, enjoying your presence and praising your name forever.

Lord God, as we think about the work of preaching the gospel in this area we want to pray also for the work of Insight, who so faithfully teach children about Jesus in the schools of the borough. Thank you for the provision of the new primary worker starting in April and we ask that you would help her to settle in quickly, to be a useful and helpful addition to the team, and to faithfully teach your word to the children she meets, with enthusiasm and joy. We thank you also, Lord, for the number of schools who have allowed the Insight team to come and speak to their pupils and for the many opportunities you have provided for pupils, staff and parents to hear your gospel message. As the work continues in those schools we pray for more opportunities and for doors to be opened in the other schools in the borough too. And in anticipation of our prayers being answered we ask also that you would be providing more volunteers to be available to take these opportunities, and that through all this work the result would be many more people, children and adults alike, repenting of their sin, turning to the Lord Jesus Christ and believing in him for their salvation and for your glory.

Lord God, we draw our prayers to a close this morning by bringing before you the needs of our world as a whole. We only need to turn on the news for five minutes, or open a paper, to know the terrible state that this world is in because of man's rejection of you as Lord and King. And we know that there is nothing at all in any of us that makes us worthy of even approaching you, let alone enjoying the eternal glory of what is for now unseen. But we also know, through the many promises of your word, that you love us and by your grace have sent your son to save us from our sin, and that many are being saved even now. And so we pray that you would not just continue that work of salvation but expand it, throughout the world. We pray for wealthy countries like our own that people would choose you over worldly comforts, and we pray for troubled countries such as North Korea, Sudan, Iran and others, that people would place their trust in you rather than in land, guns, money or power. Would the light of your gospel shine bright in the darkness that covers this world as you bring many more lost sheep into your kingdom.

We pray all these things in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, and for your glory.

Amen

26 February 2015

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