A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pastoral Prayer (October 18) - Athens First UMC

O God, even before we entered our church building this morning, we have already had many opportunities to worship you throughout this past week;

…when we took a walk through a beautiful canopy of changing autumn leaves, when we met over lunch to get to know a member of the church, when we began our day with prayer and a scripture reading, when a family said the Lord’s Prayer together around the bedside of a loved one who is receiving hospice care, and when the good news of a doctor’s report led us to say, “Yeah, God!”

O God, thank you for these many ways throughout the week that we are invited to worship you even before we hear the first note of the opening hymn during Sunday worship. May every moment be a time to be aware of your presence and offer you our worship and praise.

Help us to be like Job who was a person of great faith, but who also was willing to be honest when he did not sense your presence. Be with us during those times when we are at a loss for words as to why bad things happen. Remind us that you we can trust you even when we don’t have all the answers.

Thank you for giving us this church where it’s OK to doubt and wrestle with our faith, and where we can be ourselves and not pretend to have a stronger faith than what we really have. While we would rather echo the Psalmist who said, “The Lord is my shepherd,” sometimes our faith leads us to join another Psalmist who said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”

We pray for those who may be going through a difficult time in their lives. Surround them with your loving presence. May they be reassured that nothing can ever separate them from your great love in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Thank you for the many ways that our church reaches out to people in need, through Monday lunches, through the Kairos prison ministry, through Stephen Ministry, Sunday School classes, small groups, music teams, outreach ministries with our university, and prayer gatherings. O God, in all these ways, you are helping us to trust you in the good times as well as the bad times.

Even now, we seek to trust you by praying a prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to say together,

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

No comments: