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, April 11, 2016

Pastoral Prayer (April 10) - Athens First UMC

[We welcomed our "Growing Tree" pre-school staff, family, and children to our worship service yesterday. Pictured above is our pre-school director, Cathy Bigger teaching the children how to praise the Lord with different kinds of instruments. It was a good kind of noise!]

O God, help us to take the “not so subtle hint” of Psalm 150, and praise you at every opportunity. Help us to be generous with our praise.

We thank you for our Growing Tree pre-school, for the children, their families, and our dedicated staff. Thank you for story time, for crafts, for field trips, for lesson time, and for the many ways that our children are learning throughout the week here at Growing Tree.

Thank you for calling our church to be a haven of blessing and peace for pre-school children, for college students especially as they prepare for final exams, and for all people who enter these doors, or who even just pause at our outdoor prayer cross to let us know of a prayer need in their lives.

In this Easter season in which we celebrate your mightiest of deeds, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, may we share this good news with the people around us. Thank you for the hope and promise that we have thanks to an empty tomb and the words, “He is risen.”

We especially pray for those who might be finding it difficult to offer their praises to you because of sickness or health issues or a time of sadness and heartache in their lives. As our Chancel Choir reminded us in their beautiful anthem a few weeks ago, there WILL BE joy in the morning no matter what we may be facing in life. Thank you for the joy of Easter.

There is joy for the pre-school child who just can’t wait for story-time. There is joy for the person struggling with addiction because of the support she receives through an AA group that meets here in our church. There is joy for the father, whose daughter reminded him of Jesus’ cross at just the right time. There is joy with the new member who loves attending his new small group. There is joy with the pastor who couldn’t believe how large the offering was last Sunday. 

And yes, there is even joy when it snows in April, because life would be boring without Ohio weather. We praise you, Lord because we can always know that there will be joy in the morning thanks to Easter.

Lord, help us to be generous with praise. And now, teach us to pray the prayer that you have taught us to pray together, “The Lord’s Prayer…”

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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