Our prayer draws from Isaiah 55.

Isaiah 55:6
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;

Father of Light, we come before you today, with our brothers and sisters from across Canada and around the world to ask your mercy and favour on our churches and institutions in our land.  For over four centuries, churches in Canada have witnessed to your redeeming love, preached your Word and tried to bring hope and healing in this land.  But at the same time, we have also been sorrowful sources of division, squabbling, injustice, cruelty and shame.

Isaiah 55:7
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Lord too often we have dishonoured you by allowing the values of our culture – whether success or rivalry, pride or confidence, affluence or comfort – shape our engagement with you, with one another and with the world around us.  We have broken our vows to love, support and care for the other.  In seeking to show we are right, we have jeopardized the witness of the gospel through the unity of the Church.  Lord, in your mercy, forgive us, we pray.

Isaiah 55:8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We affirm today that our ways are not always your ways, that our words are indeed not always your words.  We turn to you anew and pray for our churches and denominations across our nation. As our partners in Canada ponder what it means to be people of the Good News, we want to know how to respond in love and truth to the complex spiritual and social issues of our time.  There are sharp disagreements even within our Baptist family over what we should stand for and who we should stand with, especially regarding people with whom we disagree, whose lifestyle doesn’t conform with ours, whether this is because of race, marriage, social justice, human rights, homelessness, or the environment.

Isaiah 55:11
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

It is our prayer, Lord, that the truth of Scripture would not fall on infertile soil, that it would not return empty.  We pray that there would be a renewed awakening and passion for your Word – for reading it, meditating on it and most certainly, living according to it. Your Word will accomplish that which you purpose.

As a community of Christ-followers, we ask that you would strengthen our leaders – the board and staff of CBM and of our sister denominations – for Rob Ogilvie and the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (CBWC), for Tim McCoy and the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec (CBOQ), for Peter Reid and the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC) and David Rowley and the French Baptist Union.  May they demonstrate courage and patience in dealing with local churches.  Help them as they find ways to encourage and bless our vast and very diverse Baptist family.

Isaiah 55:12
For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

And today, Lord, we ask that together as Canadian Baptists we would indeed go out in joy and be led in peace.  In this beautiful autumn season, may the mountains and hills burst into song and the trees clap their hands for you, the Eternal, all-knowing and everlasting one.

Father, we pray this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who is our peace and makes us one in the bond of the Holy Spirit,

Amen.

Terry Smith