Almighty God and heavenly Father, You have promised to hear and answer our requests which we make to you in the name of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. We are further taught by Him and His apostles to gather together in His name, with the promise that He will be among us and will intercede for us before You, that we may receive and obtain all things on which we are agreed on earth.
You bid us pray, first, for those whom you have set up over us, our leaders and governors. Next, for the needs of all Your people, and of all men everywhere. Therefore, trusting in Your holy truth and in Your promise, and being assembled here before You in Jesus’ name, we lovingly beseech You, our God and Father, in Your infinite mercy, freely to pardon our transgressions, and so to lift our thoughts and desires to You that we may heartily call upon You according to Your good will and pleasure.
We therefore pray, heavenly Father, for all princes and lords, Your servants to whom you have committed the rule of justice. Most particularly do we pray for the rulers of this city, that you will endue them with Your Spirit, who alone is gracious and sovereign, and daily increase His gifts in them, that they, acknowledging Your Son Jesus Christ to be King of kings and Lord of lords, with full power in heaven and on earth, may seek to serve Him and exalt His reign in all their dominions, and may according to Your will, guide and govern their subjects, who are the work of Your hands and the sheep of Your pasture. And may we, Your people, here and everywhere, being kept in peace and tranquility, serve You in holiness and righteousness. And, free from the fear of our enemies, may be give You praise all our days.
We pray also, true Father and Saviour, for all whom You have ordained as pastors to Your people, who have the care of souls and the administration of Your holy gospel. May You lead and direct them by Your Holy Spirit, that they may be found faithful and true ministers of Your glory, always striving to gather and bring home the erring and wayward sheep to the Lord Jesus Christ, our chief Shepherd and principal Bishop, that they might daily prosper and grow in Him in all righteousness and holiness. Grant, moreover, that all churches may be delivered from the mouths or ravening wolves and hirelings, who follow their own purposes and ambitions, and have no care fore the honour of Your holy name and the welfare of Your flock.
Next we pray, most gracious God and merciful Father, for all men generally. Since you desire all men to acknowledge You as Saviour of the world, through the redemption won by our Lord Jesus Christ, may those who do not know Him, being in darkness and captive to ignorance and error– may they by the light of Your Holy Spirit and the preaching of Your gospel, be led into the way of salvation, which is to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. May those whom You have already visited with Your grace, and enlightened by the knowledge of Your Word, grow in all goodness, enriched by Your spiritual blessing, so that together we may all worship You with heart and voice, giving honour and homage to Christ, our Master, King and Lawgiver.
Likewise, O God of all comfort, we commend to You all whom You visit and chastise with cross and tribulation, whether it be through poverty or prison, sickness or exile, or affliction of body or mind. May You make known to them Your fatherly love, and assure them that their chastisement is for amendment of life. And may they with willing heart turn to You and, being converted, receive Your comfort, being delivered from every distress.
Finally, O God and Father, grant also that we, who are gathered here in Jesus’ name to hear His Word, may, without dissembling or hypocrisy, acknowledge that by nature we are lost, that we deserve Your punishment, and daily heap up condemnation to ourselves by our wretched and unruly lives. Help us to see that in us there is nothing good, and that flesh and blood can never inherit Your kingdom. May be gladly and with steadfast trust submit to your Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour and Redeemer. And may He so live in us that, our old Adam being put to death, we may rise to a new and better life, to the praise and glory of Your name.
John Calvin | Sermons on the Beatitudes, trans. by Robert White (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1562/2006), 83–85.
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