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, October 17, 2016

Pastoral Prayer (October 16) - Athens First UMC

[It's always a special day when your District Superintendent spends the morning and preaches at your church. Rev. Dennis Miller preached on the topic, "Facing the Future Together" at our church yesterday. He encouraged us as we continue to grow and make needed building improvements and offered moving stories of how the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is changing lives through our conference. Our church is one of 172 churches in the Foothills district and one of 1,100 churches in our West Ohio Conference.]

God of hope and new life, thank you for reminding us this morning that we need not fear the future because you have promised to never leave or forsake us. Thank you for giving us an incredible purpose as your church, to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

And so whenever we get discouraged or fearful about what the future may hold, remind us again and again of who we are, who you are, and for what purpose you have placed our church here on South College Street.  We are here to be a visible expression of your life-giving and life-transforming grace for the world.

We are humbled to be entrusted with such a mission and purpose, O God. And we are humbled whenever we are reminded that our church serves alongside 171 other churches in our Foothills District, and with the 1,100 churches in our West Ohio Conference. And so, we pray for our episcopal leaders, for Bishop Palmer, for Dennis Miller and his Assistant, Steve McGuire as they provide leadership in our conference. Thank you for these our spiritual leaders who help us to face the future together.

This morning, we especially pray for those who are finding it very difficult to face the future because of the Hurricane Matthew flooding, the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, a need for physical, emotional, or spiritual healing, or some other uncertainty or challenge they may be facing.

Whatever our individual needs this day may be, thank you for today’s word of hope that we have each other and that your grace is always sufficient to meet every need.

It is because of this word of hope that you call us to be bold as we pray the words you that Jesus taught his disciples and now invites us to say together,

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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