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, November 23, 2015

Pastoral Prayer (November 22) - Athens First UMC

Photo taken of Athens First UMC in October, 2015 by Anna King. The rainbow reminds us of our mission as a church to share God's covenant love with our community and world through our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.]

Gracious and loving God, you bless us in so many ways. Thank you for past blessings, but even more importantly, thank you for blessings that are to come.

As we prepare for our Thanksgiving meal this week, I’m especially thankful for our Growing Tree pre-school children who have been focusing on Thanksgiving this past week here in our church. Thank you that they were able to learn how there is room for all of us around the Thanksgiving table. Nobody is left out.

For anyone who feels left out at your table, O God, we pray that they would know that we are a church family that welcomes all to this place. We are all part of your family.

We pray for those who are going through difficult challenges in life; those who are out of work, those who are barely making ends meet, those who are troubled with health concerns, and those who are feeling discouraged and lonely.

We live during an anxious and fearful time, O God, much like when the Psalmist lived and yet he was still able to offer these words of thanksgiving, “When the Lord changed Zion’s circumstances for the better, it was like we had been dreaming. Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter; our tongues were filled with joyful shouts.”

In a world of terrorism and injustice, we are feeling anxious about the future. We live in fear and uncertainty.

O God, our Psalm today couldn’t have come at a better time. We need to know that our future includes laughter and joyful shouts. We need to know that our best days are not behind us but ahead of us. We need to know that your love is greater than any act of terror. We need to know that we do not need to become the monster in order to defeat the monster. We just need to never stop painting our happiness and to keep painting the world we need to see…

A world that is filled with your love, a world that is filled with you peace, a world of music and laughter, and a world where there is room for everyone around the table and where no one is left out.

Lead us into that better future even as we pray the Lord’s Prayer together, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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