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 25, 2016

Pastoral Prayer (April 24) - Athens First UMC

[Footprint of Neil Armstrong who famously said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." This quote fit into Sunday's worship theme of when the Apostle, Peter took a small but important step into the home of a Gentile and offered them the gift of God's salvation through Jesus Christ.]

O God, thank you for that one small step by one of your disciples which extended the gospel to people with last names like Stoltzfus, Butcher, Mather, and Slater. We are humbled to be included in your family.

Forgive us for whenever we establish boundaries that would make it difficult for people in our community to feel included here in our church. Help us to be a church that is welcoming toward all people regardless of our last names or our various backgrounds.

May each one of our small steps toward becoming an open and inclusive church be transformed into one giant leap for the sake of your kingdom. We want to be a church that truly lives out our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Teach us to take a small step in inviting someone to join us for worship.  Teach us to take a small step in joining a small group where we can share our faith with others. Teach us to take a small step by serving others in our community. Teach us to take a small step by saying “hello” to the stranger on the street. Teach us to take a small step by stooping down to say “hi” to a preschooler. Teach us to take a small step by offering a hand to someone in need.  O God, may we never underestimate our small steps to trust and obey.

Even in this time of prayer, we take a small step in praying for people who are going through a difficult time in life, like those who have lost their homes and their belongings in the recent flooding in Texas, for the recent tragedy in nearby Pike County, Ohio, for those who are facing unemployment, for those who are discouraged, for our college students during final exam week, and for those who are in need of healing. Surround all of these persons with your guidance and your love.

And thank you, O God for teaching our church what we can accomplish together when each one of us takes a small step in offering our gifts toward a campaign of making needed church improvements. We continue to praise you for helping us to reach our goal and hopefully, to even go far beyond it.

With praise in our hearts, we join now in praying “The Lord’s Prayer”….

“Our Father, who art in heaven…” 

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