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, June 27, 2016

Pastoral Prayer (June 26) - Athens First UMC

[It was a great day to be at Athens First UMC. We focused on the Book of Psalms and particularly how the psalms of lament can help us when we experience a loss, sin, or feel disoriented in life. We also offered a congregational blessing upon our summer Honduras missions team.]

O God, thank you for giving us psalms and prayers that remind us that it’s OK to cry out to you. Our hearts are still aching over the mass shooting in Orlando a couple of weeks ago. We continue to offer our tears of faith, longing for a time when there will be no more need for guns or terrorist watchlists.

As we lament acts of terrorism, we also lament our own sinful actions and behaviors that keep us from being the people you have called us to be. Forgive us for our hurtful words, our unwillingness to share with those in need, and our failure to be open minded when listening to different points of view.

And be present with us as we lift up to you tears of faith when we are going through times of grief and sorrow. Remind us that you promise to walk with us through every valley of loss in our lives.

And dear God, you know too well that we often times lose our way and become disoriented in knowing who we are and who you have called us to be. During those times, bring us back to you. As our loving shepherd, lead and guide us into the paths you have in mind for us, both individually and as a church family.

Thank you for the Book of Psalms that help us to express so many different prayers to you. Thank you for the many different images they provide of how you are always a faithful loving God. You are like a strong rock, a mighty fortress, a just judge, and a loving shepherd. You are all of these images and more.

In these moments, we especially pray for people who are in special need of you this day. For those in need of physical healing, for those who are moving to a new home, for those looking for a new church, for those who are in need of a friend who is willing to listen, for those who are in need of encouragement, and for our summer mission team as they prepare to go to Honduras to be a blessing to others.

And as we prepare for our First Saturday Outreach, remind us O God, that any act of kindness, small or large that we do this Saturday morning here in our community, is time well spent. May everything that we do this Saturday morning be done in the name of Jesus Christ who taught us to pray saying,

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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