Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Ps. 51:12
What has happened to all your joy? Gal. 5:6
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Prov. 16:11
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11
Dear Lord Jesus, knowing you is a personal but not a private affair. I may come before you alone, but I cannot remain alone. As soon as I bring my longings and needs before you, you enlarge my heart and expand my gaze to see the faces and hear the cries of others. Such is the way of the gospel. Grace comes to us and runs through us to others.
Today I bring you a bevy of family members, friends, and colleagues. Everybody needs what you alone can give—fresh grace and current joy. Every one of us is has stories of failure and fear, brokenness and weakness, heartache and heart need. The details of our stories differ, but each of us needs you just as much as the other.
So I ask with confidence and I appeal with hope, restore to us the joy of your salvation for us, Lord Jesus. It’s your salvation, because we could never, ever save ourselves. Like Jonah, we humbly cry from within our own hard places, “Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jon. 2:9). Bring us back to the joyful, childlike love we had for you at first, Jesus (Rev. 2:4)—a love totally generated in response to the undeserved, unparalleled, unwavering love you have for us (1 John 4:19).
For your joy is our strength, Jesus—strength for repenting, strength for obeying, strength for hoping, strength for serving others, and above all, strength for adoring you, for you alone are worthy of our hearts’ attention, affection, and allegiance.
The only sacrifice we cling to is yours, Jesus. Only your cross—only the gospel enables us to offer up a contrite heart free of all condemnation; a broken spirit free of all self-contempt; and a thirsty soul, filled with expectation and hope. So we cry out together, “Hallelujah, what a salvation! Hallelujah, what a Savior!” So very Amen we pray, in your most holy and loving name.