By GFreihalter (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
Living, Loving Father,
You are the great king over all the earth. You sit on your holy throne and reign over us and over all the nations, and therefore we give You our praises and our songs of joy.
Lord, open our minds today so that we can understand Your word. Give us wisdom by Your Spirit, so that we may be intelligent and discerning in knowing You personally. Give us focused eyes and clear hearts, so that we can see exactly what it is that You are calling us to do, and help us to grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life that You have for Your followers.
And as we learn to walk in Your ways, we pray that You would enable us to be your witnesses, here in our own neighborhoods, in the other parts of our land, and to the ends of the earth, so that we may be tools bringing Your grace to all of our brothers and sisters around the world, that all may know the goodness of repenting of our sins and mercifully being granted forgiveness for the sake of Your beloved Son, and our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.
It is He who loved us with His life and death, who was raised from the dead and seated at Your right hand, who now has charge over all and whose name is above every other name, now and for ever.
Until He comes back to us in the same way that He went up to sit at Your right hand, we, as His students, will continue to earnestly pray the prayer that He taught us, saying,
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours now and for ever. Amen
Ascension Day is this Thursday, forty days after Easter and ten days before Pentecost. This prayer is based on the readings for Ascension Day (which can be celebrated on Thursday or the following Sunday). The readings for the ascension are the same every year:
- Acts 1:1-11: Luke's beginning to the book of Acts, which gives a more detailed account of the ascension from the one which concludes his gospel. (See today's gospel reading below.)
- Psalm 47: A psalm of joyful praise to God, recognizing him as a great king above all the earth, who has "gone up" with a shout and sits on his holy throne.
- Ephesians 1:15-23: Part of Paul's introduction to this letter to the Ephesians, in which conveys his prayer for them and describes how God's power was at work in Christ when he was raised from the dead and seated at his Father's right hand in heaven, having been given authority over all things.
- Luke 24:44-53: Luke's conclusion to his gospel, recounting how Jesus opened his disciples minds to understand what the Scriptures said about him, promised to send them power from on high, then ascended into heaven.
Also, normally I base the prayers on these readings in the New Revised Standard Version. For the reading from Ephesians, I borrowed heavily from The Message.