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, July 8, 2019

Sunday Pastoral Prayer (July 7)

[Last Sunday was our “Noisy Bucket Sunday” which is always held on the fifth Sunday of a month. During worship, the children take buckets like the ones picture above out to the congregation and the people place their spare change in them making noise. The money is given to the Athens County Food Pantry to help alleviate food insecurity in our area. Even with a lower than usual summer worship attendance, we collected over $1,000! This is a great example of how God doesn’t focus on the size of the crowd but on the readiness of the people to give. For Sunday’s sermon, click here.]

O God, thank you for this Independence Day Weekend in which we celebrate the founding of our country and for the many freedoms we enjoy. 

But even more importantly, we thank you for the freedom we find through your saving grace. Free us from our sins and brokenness. Free us from our shame and despair. Free us to accept our identity as your beloved children. Free us to use our freedom in you to be a blessing to others. Free us to reach our fullest potential. Free us to serve you through our Athens First Saturdays, through our Monday Lunches, and through our mission team who will be going to Honduras next week.  Free us to be the people you have called us to be.

We pray especially today for people who do not feel very free, like those who have no shelter or food or clothing. Like those who are facing life and death medical conditions. Like those who have been separated from their families at our country’s border. Like those who are struggling to make a living. Like those who have been turned away because of their gender, race, national origin, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or economic condition.

O God, help our country to not just celebrate freedom but to also live it in how we relate to all of your people. We confess that we sometimes only want freedom for ourselves and not for others. May our country lift the torch of freedom for the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses who are yearning to breathe free.

We pray this in the name of Christ who frees us and who taught us to pray together as one people, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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