Offertory Prayer

Each month's Offertory Prayers includes an "Invitation to the Offering" (see below) along with a digital image for those who might want to use it. We hope you will find this a helpful way to remind the people in your pews that their offering travels to many places to make a powerful difference in the lives of people they may never meet. You can find great stories of the difference our giving makes at http://umcgiving.org.

Invitation to the Offering

The offering you made last week empowered ministry within our congregation and in response to the needs of our community. It also helped support the work of ministries beyond the local church that reach people who are in desperate need to feel the touch of love and reconciliation. Through our connectional giving, we are playing a key role in the fight against Ebola in West Africa on many fronts. United Methodist Communications formed its Information and Communications Technologies for Development team (ICT4D), whose work includes bringing technology solutions to the fight against poverty. When Ebola was first reported in Liberia this past summer, many residents dismissed it as political propaganda or superstition. The historic text message shown here from Liberian Bishop John Innis, the most effective means of mass communication in this situation, made real the threat. This ministry happens thanks to the generous support of United Methodists like you. I invite you once again to give generously as we worship God through the sharing of our gifts, tithes and offerings.

Learn more about the work of United Methodist Communications at: www.umcom.org/global-communications.

November 23, 2014 -- Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday
O Lord our God, you are the good shepherd. You continually reach out to help us. When we are distracted and scattered, you draw us near with your loving voice. You welcome us as sheep of your flock and give us refreshing food and drink. Thank you for green pastures of rest and spiritual renewal. We dedicate our offerings to further your work in the world: to bring back the strayed, bind up the injured, strengthen the weak, rescue those in danger, and feed them with justice. We pray through Christ your Son, the great shepherd of the sheep. Amen.(Ezekiel 34)


November Offertory Prayers were written by the Rev. Rosanna Anderson, Associate Director of Stewardship Ministries at Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

True Bread, a Reflection on John 6:28-35

Jesus has told them that they need to work for a different goal. 

Both are important--work and what they are supposed to work for.

Their work is to believe. Believe--how hard is that? Believe--is it possible? Believe--does he mean creed or something else?

The goal is bread. And they want it. They ask how they can get this true bread from heaven. Jesus says, "You've already got it. I am the bread of life."

This passage is raising a lot of uncomfortable questions for me today: Why do I go to church? What do I pray about? What am I working for? How do I know if I have passed the "believe" requirement. Am I looking for a sign? And most disturbing, what do I do with verse 35? I know that hunger and thirst exist, and I know that good, believing people are among the hungry and thirsty. And I know that I don't want to metaphorize the terms completely.

Daily Prayer, Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Have mercy on me, O God,
   according to your steadfast love,
according to your abundant mercy
   blot out my transgressions.

Morning
Invitatory Psalm 84
How lovely is your dwelling place,
LORD of heavenly forces!
2 My very being longs, even yearns,
for the LORD ’s courtyards.
My heart and my body
will rejoice out loud to the living God!
3 Yes, the sparrow too has found a home there;
the swallow has found herself a nest
where she can lay her young beside your altars,
LORD of heavenly forces, my king, my God!
4 Those who live in your house are truly happy;
they praise you constantly. Selah
5 Those who put their strength in you are truly happy;
pilgrimage is in their hearts.
6 As they pass through the Baca Valley,
they make it a spring of water.
Yes, the early rain covers it with blessings.
7 They go from strength to strength,
until they see the supreme God in Zion.
8 LORD God of heavenly forces,
hear my prayer;
listen closely, Jacob’s God! Selah
9 Look at our shield, God;
pay close attention to the face of your anointed one!
10 Better is a single day in your courtyards
than a thousand days anywhere else!
I would prefer to stand outside the entrance of my God’s house
than live comfortably in the tents of the wicked!
11 The LORD is a sun and shield;
God is favor and glory.
The LORD gives—doesn’t withhold!—good things
to those who walk with integrity.
12 LORD of heavenly forces,
those who trust in you are truly happy!
[Common English Bible]

Psalm 65
Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion;
   and to you shall vows be performed,
O you who answer prayer!
   To you all flesh shall come.

When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
   you forgive our transgressions.

Happy are those whom you choose
   and bring near to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness
   of your house, your holy temple.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
   O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
   and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
   the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples.

Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds
   are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning
   and the evening shout for joy.
You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
   for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
   settling its ridges, softening it with showers,
   and blessing its growth.

You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

Psalm 66
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
we sing the glory of your name;
we give you glorious praise.

Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great power,
   your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you;
they sing praises to you,
   sing praises to your name.”

Come and see what God has done:
God is awesome in deeds among mortals.
God turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in the One who rules forever,
   whose eyes keep watch on the nations
   — let the rebellious not exalt themselves.

Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of  praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living,
   and has not let our feet slip.
….
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
   the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened
   and has given heed to the words of my prayer.
Blessed be God, you have not rejected my prayer
   or removed your steadfast love from me.

Psalm 70
Be pleased, O God, to deliver me.
O Lord, make haste to help me!
….
Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you.
Let those who love your salvation
   say evermore, “God is great!”

I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O Lord, do not delay!
 
Daily Lectionary Reading, John 6:28-35


28 They asked, “What must we do in order to accomplish what God requires?”


29 Jesus replied, “This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent.”


30 They asked, “What miraculous sign will you do, that we can see and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. (q)”


32 Jesus told them, “I assure you, it wasn’t Moses who gave the bread from heaven to you, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 The bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”


34 They said, “ Sir, (r) give us this bread all the time! ”


35 Jesus replied, “ I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
_________________________________________________
q Ps 78:24 r Or Lord
[Common English Bible]

Prayer for today: O God, strengthen our belief in him whom you have sent. Open us to recognize your gifts, to appreciate the bread we have to eat, and to appreciate the true bread from heaven. Amen.

Midday Psalm 119:97-104
Oh, how I love your law!
It is my meditation all day long.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
  for it is always with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
 for your decrees are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
   for I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
   in order to keep your word.
I do not turn away from your ordinances,
  for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
  sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
   therefore I hate every false way.




Evening
Psalms 102
Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call.
….
I lie awake; I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
All day long my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
...
My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
your name endures to all generations.

You will regard the prayer of the destitute,
   and will not despise their prayer.
….
Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
   and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you endure;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
   but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall live secure;
their offspring shall be established in your presence.



Psalm 103
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me,
   bless your holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
   we do not forget all your benefits —
   who forgives all our iniquity,
   who heals all our diseases,
   who redeems our life from the Pit,
   who crowns us with steadfast love and mercy,
   who satisfies us with good as long as we live
        so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works vindication and justice
   for all who are oppressed.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

You will not always accuse, nor will you keep your anger forever.
You do not deal with us according to our sins,
   nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
   so great is your steadfast love toward those who fear you;
   as far as the east is from the west,
   so far you removes our transgressions from us.

As a parent has compassion for his children,
   so you have compassion for those who fear you.
For you know how we were made; you remember that we are dust.
As for mortals, their days are like grass;
they flourish like a flower of the field;
   for the wind passes over it,
   and it is gone,
   and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the Lord is
   from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear you,
   and your righteousness to children’s children,
   to those who keep your covenant
        and remember to do your commandments.
You have established your throne in the heavens,
   and your kingdom rules over all.….
Bless the Lord, O my soul.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Menus, a Reflection on John 6:24-27

Why do we go to church? What do we expect to get out of it?

Or, what methods do we use to try to get other people to join our church? What do we think motivates them?

Jesus told the crowds that day, "You've come because I provided food for you."

He adds, "You're searching for the wrong kind of food. Church suppers are great, but you'll still want breakfast the next morning."

Yet, I don't think he is disparaging typical church evangelistic efforts. We do want to get people in the doors. But, once inside, they need to know more.

Daily Prayer, Monday, July 30, 2012

Have mercy on me, O God,
   according to your steadfast love,
according to your abundant mercy
   blot out my transgressions.

Morning
Invitatory Psalm 95
Come, let’s sing out loud to the LORD!
Let’s raise a joyful shout to the rock of our salvation!
Let’s come before him with thanks!
Let’s shout songs of joy to him!
The LORD is a great God,
the great king over all other gods.
The earth’s depths are in his hands;
the mountain heights belong to him;
the sea, which he made, is his
along with the dry ground,
which his own hands formed.
Come, let’s worship and bow down!
Let’s kneel before the LORD, our maker!
He is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
the sheep in his hands.
….
[Common English Bible]
Psalm 57
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    until the destroying storms pass by.
I cry to God Most High, you who fulfill your purpose for me.
You will send from heaven and save me,
you will put to shame those who trample on me.
You will send forth your steadfast love and faithfulness.

I lie down among lions that greedily devour human prey;
   their teeth are spears and arrows,
   their tongues sharp swords.
….
Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre!
 I will awake the dawn.
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens;
   your faithfulness extends to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.
   Let your glory be over all the earth.

Psalm 61
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to you,
   when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I;
   for you are my refuge,
   a strong tower against the enemy.
Let me abide in your tent forever,
   find refuge under the shelter of your wings.
For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage
   of those who fear your name….
So I will always sing praises to your name,
   as I pay my vows day after day.

Psalm 64
Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
preserve my life from the dread enemy.
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
   from the scheming of evildoers,
       who whet their tongues like swords,
       who aim bitter words like arrows,
            shooting from ambush at the blameless;
            they shoot suddenly and without fear.

They hold fast to their evil purpose;
they talk of laying snares secretly, thinking,
   “Who can see us? Who can search out our crimes?
   We have thought out a cunningly conceived plot.”
For the human heart and mind are deep.
But you will overcome them....
Then everyone ... will tell what God has brought about.
They will ponder what you have done.
Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord who is their refuge.
Let all the upright in heart glory.

Daily Lectionary Reading, John 6:24-27


24 When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus replied, “I assure you that you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate all the food you wanted. 27 Don’t work for the food that doesn’t last but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Human One (p) will give you. God the Father has confirmed him as his agent to give life.”
_________________________________________________ p Or Son of Man
[Common English Bible]



Prayer for Today: O Lord, we continue to seek your presence. Help us to discern what goals are appropriate for your followers. Help us to discern how to work toward those goals. Amen.



Midday
Psalm 119:89-96
The Lord exists forever; your word is firmly fixed in heaven.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
By your appointment they stand today,
   for all things are your servants.
If your law had not been my delight,
   I would have perished in my misery.
I will never forget your precepts,
   for by them you have given me life.
I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts.
The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
   but I consider your decrees.
I have seen a limit to all perfection,
   but your commandment is exceedingly broad.



Evening
Psalm 87
On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
the Lord loves the gates of Zion
   more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. Selah

Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
   Philistia too, and Tyre, with Ethiopia—
   “This one was born there,” they say.
And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in it”;
   for the Most High himself will establish it.
The Lord records, as he registers the peoples,
   “This one was born there.” Selah
Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”

   
O Lord, God of my salvation,
   when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
   let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry.
For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the Pit;
I am like those who have no help,
   like those forsaken among the dead,
   like the slain that lie in the grave,
   like those whom you remember no more,
   for they are cut off from your hand.

You have put me in the depths of the Pit,
   in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
   and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah

You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a thing of horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
my eye grows dim through sorrow.

Every day I call on you, O Lord;
I spread out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the shades rise up to praise you? Selah
Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
   or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Are your wonders known in the darkness,
    or your saving help in the land of forgetfulness?
But I, O Lord, cry out to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O Lord, why do you cast me off?
Why do you hide your face from me?
Wretched and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am desperate.

Psalm 91

You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
   who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
   will say to the Lord,
“My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.  
You will deliver me from the snare of the fowler
   and from the deadly pestilence;
you will cover me with your pinions,
   and under your wings I will find refuge;
your faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”

You will not fear the terror of the night,
   or the arrow that flies by day,
   or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
   or the destruction that wastes at noonday.….

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
   the Most High your dwelling place,
no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.
For God will command the angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
   so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
   the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

God says, “Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
   and show them my salvation.”