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 9, 2015

Pastoral Prayer (November 8) - 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.]

O God, we ask, “What gift can we bring, what gift, what token?” when all you really want is for us to give who we are to you for the sake of your kingdom.

Like the poor widow in our Gospel reading, you have shown us what it means to offer your very best and all that you have for the sake of others. Thank you for sending us the greatest gift of all, your only Son, Jesus Christ, so that we can be made whole and receive the fullness of life that you want us to have.

How exciting to think that you call us to be the means by which people in our community and world are blessed through our financial gifts. When we place a gift in the offering plate, remind us that these gifts are a reflection of our love for you and for your church.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to quietly offer our gifts so that a college student can receive a delicious meal at one of our Monday lunches. Thank you for the check we write out that will help pay our district and conference apportionments to help support missionaries and outreach throughout our world. Thank you for the coins we place in our offering on the 5th Sunday of the month to be used to purchase food for people who are hungry in our local community. Thank you for the gifts that were given over this past year that helped us to launch Worship U to reach out to our university community. Thank you for nudging me to gather up all my quarters and placing them on the altar because of this story of the poor widow from our Gospel reading today.

O God, for the Estimate of Giving cards that will be placed in the offering plate today or next Sunday to help fund a new year of ministry, help all of us to be like the poor widow who gave all that she had.

As our church prepares to host several area United Methodist Churches for our annual Church Conferences, be with those who will be serving as greeters, as refreshments servers, and as audio/visual operators. Thank you for Rick Seiter and our office manager, Greg Ramey who spent a lot of time this past week getting things ready for the several churches who will be gathering here tonight. And we especially thank you, that this meeting happens only once a year.

We pray for Bishop Palmer and our District Superintendent, Dennis Miller as they provide leadership for our West Ohio Conference and the Foothills District. Bless them in all that they do for your kingdom.

What gift can we bring, what present what token?

O God, may the answer to that question be, “All that we have.”

And now, teach us to pray together saying, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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