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, July 4, 2016

Pastoral Prayer for Freedom (July 3) @ Athens First UMC

[We had a wonderful turnout for our monthly "Athens First Saturday" community outreach on Saturday. Thanks to the many helping hands, we were able to pick up litter in our community, arrange and take flowers to share with the local hospital, make blankets for community organizations, and lead a worship service at a nursing home (see photo above.) On this Independence Day weekend, our church shared God's liberating love with many people.]

God of freedom, we give you thanks for this weekend in the celebration of our nation’s Independence Day. We are so grateful to live in a country where we are blessed with so many resources and the freedom to worship as we choose.

We pray for people who do not enjoy such freedoms. We pray for those who are downtrodden and oppressed. We pray for political rulers who care more about power and wealth than about the welfare and the rights of the people they govern. O God, help us to use our freedom and our many resources to be a blessing not just for our own benefit, but to also help this world be a better place, a place where all people can enjoy the basic necessities of life including freedom.

Thank you O God, for prophets like Elisha from our Old Testament who were willing to extend compassion beyond their country’s borders so that people can find healing and hope. Help our discussions about immigrants and refugees to not just be about political agendas, but about how our country can continue to lift high the torch of freedom for all people. We especially pray for the people of Turkey and the terrorist attacks that happened there this past week. O God, we long for a world that is free of terrorism.

O God, during this weekend of our nation’s freedom, we think of people closer to home who do not feel very free today. We pray for flooding victims in West Virginia who have lost their possessions. We pray for those who are trying to find employment. We pray for those who have little or no hope.

O God, may our church be like the prophet Elisha and the young servant girl form our Old Testament reading today who were willing to offer hope and healing to Naaman. Thank you for the people in our lives who have shared your healing and liberating love with us.

Thank you for your offer of freedom to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is through him, that we have the greatest freedom of all; freedom from our sins and freedom to be the people you have called us to be. And it is in his name, that we join now in saying together The Lord’s Prayer… “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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