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 18, 2016

Pastoral Prayer (July 17) - Athens First UMC

[This is a photo of three of our Honduras mission team members on their way home yesterday. We prayed for them during our worship services earlier in the day (see prayer below.) Notice their smiles after their long trip. There is great joy when we serve the Lord! A couple of people from the mission team will be sharing about their experiences this upcoming Sunday during worship. Welcome home, missions team!] 

O God, thank you for the many ways that our church is living out our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our community and world. Thank you for placing our church in this location to be a haven of blessing and peace.

Thank you for the vision you have given us to put Athens First. Thank you for the many ways you are helping us to connect with our community and world. We look forward to the continuing of these ministries as well as new ministries this fall, like “Core” where we will exercise our minds in exploring the foundational components of our Christian faith.

Help us to be a church where we use our hands to serve, where we use our hearts to love, and where we use our minds to grow. Serve, love, and grow. Teach us what it means to keep our focus on those three areas of our faith, O God. Take away any unnecessary distractions that would keep us from serving, loving, and growing in our faith.

We confess that we sometimes struggle in having the focus you want us to have. There are so many things that would pull us away from keeping the main thing the main thing. Reminds us again and again of the words of my pastor friend who used to always tell me, “Stay focused on Jesus. Stay focused on Jesus.”

Keep our focus on you as we share our faith with each other in small groups. Keep our focus on you as we serve through our Athens First Saturday outreach. Keep our focus on you as construction begins for our several building improvements. Keep our focus on you as we begin our “Core” classes this fall. Keep our focus on you every time we gather in this place to worship you.

We pray for those who may find it difficult to focus on you because of financial difficulties, loneliness, relational struggles, health issues, or some other challenge they may be facing. Help our church to be a haven of blessing and peace especially for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the many distractions that come our way. We lift up to you the people of France who experienced a terrorist attack this past week. We pray for a world of mutual understanding and peace. And we continue to pray for our Honduras mission team as they do their part in making this world a better place.

And Lord, help us to not take ourselves so seriously that we miss out on the joy of living out our faith. And that’s why we especially thank you that today is National Ice-Cream Day. Continue to help us be a church that knows how to have a lot of fun. We pray this in the name of Jesus who is the reason that we have joy in our hearts and who has taught us to pray together saying… “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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