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, September 10, 2018

Sunday Pastoral Prayer (Sept. 9) Athens First UMC

[We were blessed on Sunday to hear two very inspiring anthems which included Daniel Mullins playing the violin. Music during worship has a special way of helping us to remember our faith throughout the week which was the theme of the sermon based on our Letter of James scripture reading. The pastoral prayer reinforced this theme by inviting God to help has have an everyday faith and not just a Sunday faith.]

Living God, we confess that our actions and behaviors during the week often fall way short of what we profess with our lips in church.

We recite the Apostles’ Creed that fills us with so much hope on Sunday, and by Monday, we are already letting the negativity of the world get the best of us.

We sing an inspiring hymn about being your servants at church on Sunday, and by Tuesday, we are already upset that someone beat us to an open parking space.

We hear an above average sermon about being more inclusive on Sunday, and by Wednesday, even the preacher who preached the sermon is avoiding people at a clergy meeting who he finds annoying.

In unison, we say “Amen” to a prayer in our bulletin that asks you to help our deeds and our faith be as one, and by Thursday, we have already forgotten that both are vitally important.

Living God, we don’t have to tell you how difficult it is for us to not live our our faith during the week since you know everything about us. But we do need to be reminded just how gracious, loving, and forgiving you are toward us. 

What would we do with out you? So, thank you for being patient with us. Thank you for putting up with our hypocritical ways. Thank you for extending your loving grace especially when we fail to show by our actions what we profess with our lips.

And so, it is in this spirit of humility that we become more inclined to pray for the needs of others, like the mother who bravely left her husband who was abusing her, like the student who is being bullied in school, like the person who is struggling with an addiction, like the new resident stepping inside the church on a Sunday morning in search of a caring congregation, like the coworker who is on the opposite end of the political spectrum than where we are.

O God, humble us. And help are deeds match our faith even as we pray the words you taught us to pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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