Please pray aloud:

Heavenly Father, today, I intercede for those who no longer gather with us in worship.

Throughout your Word I read that your heart breaks for those who have wandered away. Your Son tells stories of the prodigal child and the eager father, and of the shepherd seeking the wayward sheep. Prophet after prophet calls out with the refrain, “return to the Lord”. And even in our congregation, there are those used to come but no longer do. This day, my heart breaks with your heart for those who have gone astray.

Specifically, I bring to you… [say the names of those who are missing.]

For those we love and miss, God, stir in their hearts with the same longing. Compel them by your Holy Spirit to return. Even now, wherever they are, help them remember the hope they felt when they went to the house of God with, “shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.” Remind them that even now, you wait with the blessings and joy and forgiveness they so desperately need.

For those we love and miss, God, stir in their hearts with the same longing.
—Pray for Your Church

If they left because of some hurt, Lord, let there be reconciliation and healing. If they left because of some offense to your Word, let there be humility and submission to your authority. If they left because of some sin, let there be confession and absolution. But do not let the wound, offense, or guilt keep them from your house one day longer!

If they left because life got busy, God, remind them to keep the first thing first, and to seek you above all others. If they left because they’ve failed to plan, help them to make a plan to join us in worship this Sunday. If they left because of a consumer mindset towards church, give them a selfless mindset. Warm the cold heart. Enliven the dead heart. Soften the calloused heart. Break the hard heart. It is not the same without them, God, help them to see as much.

Surprise us with who returns to church this Sunday, God. And when they come, help us to greet them with a joy reflective of the joy you feel for them.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
Jeremiah 24:7

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