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 24, 2016

Pastoral Prayer (October 23) - Athens First UMC

[Our Chancel Choir offering an anthem during yesterday's 10:30 am worship service which is being held in our Fellowship Hall due to the renovation of our church facility. Even though we are worshipping in this new location, God's presence has been with us in very moving and powerful ways. We are the church wherever we worship.]

Lord Jesus, remember me, remember me when you come into your kingdom. May this be our humble song to you today and everyday. Forgive us for whenever we place more importance in having our political opinions, our theological stances, and our personal preferences heard, than we do on simply loving you and serving others.

Help us to always sing a humble song, a song that points people away from ourselves and to your saving and healing love. I guess what we’re praying for is to be more like the tax collector, the unlikely hero from our Gospel reading this morning, who simply prayed, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.”

And so, during this time of prayer, we humble ourselves before you. We offer to you all of who we are, including the dryer sheet that is unknowingly still tucked in our shirt, the hurtful comment we made that should have been kept to ourselves, the judgmental attitude toward the person we saw walking down the street, and our jealous attitudes and selfish ways.

Lord, as the song goes, “it’s hard to be humble,” but we can be humble when we realize that you have created us in your image no matter our station in life, and that you love us unconditionally. Thank you that here, in this church, we are all brothers and sisters. We are one in Jesus Christ.

Today, we especially pray for anyone who feels unworthy to be included in your church family. We pray for those who feel outside of your circle of grace. Help us to always be a church of open hearts, open minds, and open doors. Help us to love others the way that you love them.

We lift up to you those who are lonely, scared, in pain, grieving, or discouraged. May they sense your presence, your acceptance, and your healing love in this very moment. Hear the names of those who are on our hearts this morning as we silently lift them to you. (Moments of Silence)

As your humble servants, we now pray together the words you taught your disciples and now teach us to pray saying, “Our Father, who art in heaven...”

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