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, January 7, 2019

Sunday Pastoral Prayer (Jan. 6/Epiphany) Athens First UMC

[Sunday was Epiphany on the church calendar which represents the 12th Day of Christmas and the day that the Wise Men brought their gifts to the Christ Child. It’s also known as the day when we invite the congregation to take down the Christmas decorations after each worship service which is what is happening in the photo above. The video below the prayer is our choir singing “We Three Kings” during the 10:30 worship service. For the sermon, click here. Happy Epiphany, everyone!]

O God, thank you for giving us great reasons to joyfully skip into this New Year. On this twelfth Day of Christmas, we join the Wise Men in joyfully offering our gifts to the Christ Child. We don’t have gold or frankincense or myrrh, but we do offer to you our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. 

We skip into this New Year because you sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world. We skip into this New Year because you offer forgiveness and abundant life. We skip into this New Year because you have created us to have a loving faith, a learning faith, and a living faith. We skip into this New Year because you have given us each other for encouragement and support. We skip into this New Year because no matter how dark the world may seem, you can always overcome the darkness because you are the light of the world. We skip into this New Year because you promise to meet us in a very real way every time we receive the bread and the cup. 

On this Epiphany Sunday, this day when your light shines brightly, we pray for those who are experiencing darkness; the darkness of loneliness, the darkness of depression, the darkness of grief, the darkness of disappointment, the darkness of emotional, relational, and physical pain, the darkness of poverty, the darkness of missed opportunities, the darkness of sin.

O God, shine your light brightly for all of those who are facing darkness. We name them silently in our hearts and lift them to you in this very moment.

(Moments if Silence)

O God, like our prayer hymn says, “We want to walk as a child of the light. We want to follow Jesus. In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in our hearts, Lord Jesus.”

Shine in our hearts, Lord Jesus as we pray the words you taught us to say together… 

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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