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

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pastoral Prayer (November 27) - Athens First UMC

[Our congregaiton experienced an early Christmas miracle Sunday morning when one of the two altar candles burst into full flame during the 10:30 service. See picture above. Evidently, when this candle was lighted at the beginning of the service, it became just a flicker due to a lot of wax build up. During the sermon, "Shine Christmas Light" (click here) the flame suddenly awoke and ended up shining brightly the rest of the service! What a great reminder that we are to be like that candle and shine our light especially during those times that we feel like we are just a flicker. Join us next Sunday as our focus will be on, "Offer Christmas Love!"]

O God, as our opening prayer has reminded us on this 1st Sunday of Advent, we are on our tiptoes in great anticipation of what you are about to do in and through us as we reclaim the true meaning of Christmas this year. Help us to be a church of Great Expectations rather than a church of small hopes and dreams.

May our Reclaim Christmas wish lists come true as we shine your light wherever there is darkness and despair. Thank you in advance for all the good that our church will do to be a blessing in our community and world this year. Thank you for our upcoming Athens First Saturday community outreach and our hot chocolate give away. We pray that these random acts of kindness will shine Christmas light brightly here in our community.

On this Sunday when we think about those who are facing some darkness in their lives, we pray for those who are struggling to make ends meet. During the holidays, we especially pray for those who are recovering from alcohol and drug addictions. O God, thank you that our church hosts several AA groups especially during this time of year.

We also lift up to you those who are facing difficult medical decisions or who may be recovering from recent surgeries. Bless them as they continue on the road to recovery. 

In these early weeks following the election, we continue to pray for our president, our president elect, and all of our elected officials at the local, state, and national levels that we would be a country that pursues liberty and justice for all regardless of class, creed, race, political party, gender, or sexual orientation. O God, raise up leaders in our country who will speak a word of assurance and hope especially to those who feel marginalized, who are the victims of hateful speech, and who feel like their voices are not being heard.  

O God, just as you used Isaiah to shine your light to the people of Israel who were living during a time of darkness, use us to shine your light to brighten someone’s day. Use us to shine your light and help provide a home for a needy family in Amesville. Use us to shine your light as we seek to bless our college students as they get ready for their final exams. Use us to shine your light as we care for our Growing Tree pre-school children who meet here each week. Use us to shine your light and offer a word of hope to those who come to Monday Lunch.

Use us to shine your light even as you teach us to pray together,

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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