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 13, 2020

Sunday Pastoral Prayer (Jan. 12/Baptism of the Lord Sunday) Athens First UMC

[Each year for Baptism of the Lord Sunday, the Holy Spirit invites us to renew our baptisms. People came forward to our baptismal font, touched the water, and took a smooth stone from the font. It’s always encouraging to see people of all ages come forward especially children with their families. For the sermon that includes Pastor Robert’s most memorable baptism he has ever officiated, click here.]

God of renewal, cleansing, transformation, and new life, thank you for the presence of your Holy Spirit in this place. Like a dove, you have descended upon us in a most powerful and very real way. 


For some of us, your Holy Spirit has reminded us of just how much you love us and call us your beloved. 


Maybe there are others who are finding it difficult to let go of past regrets, past hurts, things we could have done better or differently, and your Spirit fell upon us taking away that heavy weight that has been burdening us for so long.


And I wonder as I offer this prayer, if any of us might have felt a tug or even a push to respond to a new calling that you have in mind for us. A calling that would take us our of our comfort zones and lead us into a new direction of faithfulness.


Or perhaps there are those of us who are still sorting out what your presence here means for us and we just need to let things settle in our hearts.


For all of these possible responses to the descending of your Holy Spirit on our church this morning, we give you thanks for this holy moment and for your presence here in this place.


More than ever, the world you created and love so much is in need of Holy Spirit filled people who are willing to step out in faith and work for peace where there is war, hope where there is despair, justice where there is injustice, love where there is hate.


O God, send us forth from this place, white knuckles and all, to be your visible expression of love and welcome in all of our encounters. Lead us into the daily disciplines of our faith that would continue to fan the flames of our spiritual renewal and awakening. 


We pray this in the name of Jesus who taught us to say together…


“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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