Father in Heaven –
You are the God who is. Not the God who was; not the God who will be; but the God who is. And we see Your desire, through all the Scriptures, to be with Your people. You are the God who made us in Your image with the unique ability to relate to You. You are the God who wanted Your tabernacle in the midst of Your people. You are the God who commanded Your temple be built in the middle of Your city. And You are the God who came personally to us in Jesus.
You are the God who is, and You are the God who is with us. And we know it is Your desire not only to be with us, but for us to be with each other. We look forward to a day when we will not see You dimly, but brightly – a day when we will know even as we are known. And a day when that will happen for us together.
Father, You have seen fit to give us these times – times of separation – and now we know it is a good and right thing for us to be together, in person, again. Even as we do, Lord, we pray for our churches.
We pray, Father, that You would give our pastors and leaders wisdom. Help them to think through issues of safety, of witness, of necessity, and all the complexities that come with them. We pray for this wisdom to be real-time, that our churches would be able to ebb and flow as needed, and to make good, slow, wise progress.
We also pray, Father, that You would help the people in our churches to be patient and understanding. We pray for a general sense of being slow to speak, and quick to listen, as we together make decisions.
We pray too that You would guard us from a sense of judgment as people inevitably ask what other churches in other communities are doing or not doing. Help us instead display the kind of grace and understanding to one another that we ourselves have received from You. Help us to be supportive and not critical; to be encouraging and not challenging; to be learners and not mavericks; to be compassionate and not ill-tempered.
Help us, Lord, to continue to be good neighbors to one another. We pray that the way and fashion churches gather would be a witness of what it means to “Go and do likewise” as we are not too committed to our own plans for a given time that we are too busy to stop and help those on the side of the road.
And as we gather, Lord, we pray that being together again would be a tangible reminder of Your constant presence with us. Help us, Lord, to long ever more for the day when we can fully be together with each other, and be fully together with You.
We pray this in Jesus name –