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 support the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) and missionaries around the world -- such as Alex andBrenda Awad, who serve Christians in East Jerusalem and the ministries of Bethlehem Bible College. So when you revive the story this season of the birth of the Son of God in Bethlehem, remember that United Methodists are still working to make the world a more welcoming place for the God of love and peace. 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 GBGM Missionaries at: www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service

December 21, 2014 -- Fourth Sunday of Advent
Dear Lord, you are the only wise God! Thank you for your faithfulness through the ages. You spoke promises through the prophets. In time, you revealed your glory in Jesus Christ. Strengthen us in faith to follow your will today. Empower us to tell our neighbors about you. May these offerings support the ways our church exhibits your steadfast love for all generations. Amen. (Romans 16)

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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Teach me, a reflection on Psalm 25:1-5

We read in Jeremiah the promise of what is coming--justice and righteousness and safey. In Psalm 25, we find the words to respond to this promise.

I trust you, God, protect me.
Teach me your ways.
You are my salvation

In his Old Testament Theology, Volume Three, Israel's Life, John Goldingay writes:
....that is, let me see you acting in a way that reflect who you are, so that I come to make that the basis of the way I act.

Daily Prayer, Friday, November 30, 2012

Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

Morning
Invitatory Psalm  118
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
   “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.

With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
What can mortals do to me?
The Lord is on my side to help me;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
   than to put confidence in mortals.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
   than to put confidence in princes.

All nations surrounded me;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me,
   surrounded me on every side;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me like bees;
they blazed like a fire of thorns;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
   but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.

There are glad songs of victory
   in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
I shall not die, but I shall live,
   and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me severely,
   but he did not give me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
   that I may enter through them
   and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me
   and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.

The Lord is God, and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
   up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.

Psalms 131
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
   too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
   like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
   from this time on and forevermore.

Psalm 132
O Lord, remember in David’s favor
   all the hardships he endured;
   how he swore to the Lord and vowed
       to the Mighty One of Jacob,
   “I will not enter my house or get into my bed;
   I will not give sleep to my eyes
       or slumber to my eyelids,
        until I find a place for the Lord,
             a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
We heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
“Let us go to his dwelling place;
let us worship at his footstool.”

Rise up, O Lord, and go to your resting place,
   you and the ark of your might.
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
   and let your faithful shout for joy.
For your servant David’s sake
   do not turn away the face of your anointed one.
The Lord swore to David a sure oath
   from which he will not turn back:
   “One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.
If your sons keep my covenant
   and my decrees that I shall teach them,
   their sons also, forevermore, shall sit on your throne.”

For the Lord has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his habitation:
   “This is my resting place forever;
   here I will reside, for I have desired it.
   I will abundantly bless its provisions;
   I will satisfy its poor with bread.
   Its priests I will clothe with salvation,
       and its faithful will shout for joy.
   There I will cause a horn to sprout up for David;
   I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one.
   His enemies I will clothe with disgrace,
      but on him, his crown will gleam.”

Psalm 133
How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard,
   on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore.


Daily Lectionary Reading, Psalm 25:1-5

I offer my life [t] to you, LORD.
2 My God, I trust you.
Please don’t let me be put to shame!
Don’t let my enemies rejoice over me!
3 For that matter,
don’t let anyone who hopes in you
be put to shame;
instead, let those who are treacherous without excuse be put to shame.
4 Make your ways known to me, LORD;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth—teach it to me—
because you are the God who saves me.
I put my hope in you all day long.
_________________________________________________ t Or soul
[Common English Bible]

Prayer for today: Choose a prayer from Joan Stott's website Timeless Psalms

Midday Psalm 119:169-176
Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.
Let my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
My lips will pour forth praise,
  because you teach me your statutes.
My tongue will sing of your promise,
  for all your commandments are right.
Let your hand be ready to help me,
 for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O Lord,
  and your law is my delight.
Let me live that I may praise you,
  and let your ordinances help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
seek out your servant,
  for I do not forget your commandments.

Evening

Psalm 137
By the rivers of Babylon— there we sat down
   and there we wept when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there we hung up our harps.
For there our captors asked us for songs,
   and our tormentors asked for mirth,
       saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither!
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
   if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.
….

Psalm 138
I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
  and give thanks to your name
   for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
for you have exalted your name and your word above everything.

On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of soul.

All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
   for they have heard the words of your mouth.
They shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
   for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly;
   but the haughty he perceives from far away.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
   you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
   you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 139
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
   and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord,
   you know it completely.

You hem me in, behind and before,
   and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
   it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
   and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
   even there your hand shall lead me,
   and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
   and the light around me become night,”
   even the darkness is not dark to you;
   the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
   when I was being made in secret,
   intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written all the days
   that were formed for me,
   when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you.
….
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I will fulfill the promise, a reflection on Jeremiah 33:14-16

Jeremiah is writing to a people in exile. Jeremiah promised them that God would sustain them and provide them with a new life. Remember, Jeremiah knows and they know that they have not always been loyal to God's wishes.

Many congregations and communities today feel as if they are in a kind of exile.

Can you think of a time when you faced lost dreams?

How do Jeremiah's promises speak to you where you are now? What justice and righteousness is needed in your life? in the life of your congregation? of your community?

Where do you see significant signs of the promises? What are you still waiting to see?

Lectio Divina:
In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he sahll execute justice and righteousness in the land (Jeremiah 33:15).
Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they ahve been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness' sake, O Lord! (Psalm 25:6-7)

Daily Prayer, Thursday, November 29, 2012

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord,
and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.

Morning
Invitatory Psalm 150
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 125
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
  which cannot be moved, but abides for ever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
  so the Lord surrounds his people,
  from this time on and for evermore.
….

Psalm 126
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
  we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
  and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
  ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’
The Lord has done great things for us,
  and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
  like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
  reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
  bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
  carrying their sheaves.

Psalm 127
Unless the Lord builds the house,
  those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
  the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
  and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
  for he gives sleep to his beloved.

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
  the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
  are the sons of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has
  his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
  when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Psalm 128
Happy is everyone who fears the Lord,
  who walks in his ways.
You shall eat the fruit of the labour of your hands;
  you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
….

Psalm 129

‘Often have they attacked me from my youth’
  —let Israel now say—
‘often have they attacked me from my youth,
  yet they have not prevailed against me.
Those who plough ploughed on my back;
  they made their furrows long.’
The Lord is righteous;
  he has cut the cords of the wicked.
May all who hate Zion
  be put to shame and turned back.
Let them be like the grass on the housetops
  that withers before it grows up,
with which reapers do not fill their hands
  or binders of sheaves their arms,
while those who pass by do not say,
  ‘The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
  We bless you in the name of the Lord!’

Daily Lectionary Reading, Jeremiah 33:14-16
14 The time is coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill my gracious promise with the people of Israel and Judah. 15 In those days and at that time, I will raise up a righteous branch from David’s line, who will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is what he will be called: The LORD Is Our Righteousness.
[Common English Bible]


Prayer for Today: Lord, we turn to you today in gratitude for what you have done for us. We thank you for sending help to us in many ways, by many people. We ask that you continue to care for us, to protect us in our needs. Amen.

Midday Psalm 119:161-168
Princes persecute me without cause,
  but my heart stands in awe of your words.
I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.
I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous ordinances.
Great peace have those who love your law;
  nothing can make them stumble.
I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
  and I fulfill your commandments.
My soul keeps your decrees;
I love them exceedingly.
I keep your precepts and decrees,
  for all my ways are before you.

Evening
Psalm 135
Praise the Lord!
  Praise the name of the Lord;
  give praise, O servants of the Lord,
you that stand in the house of the Lord,
  in the courts of the house of our God.
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
  sing to his name, for he is gracious.
….
Whatever the Lord pleases he does,
  in heaven and on earth,
  in the seas and all deeps.
He it is who makes the clouds rise
  at the end of the earth;
he makes lightnings for the rain
  and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
….
Your name, O Lord, endures for ever,
  your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages.
For the Lord will vindicate his people,
  and have compassion on his servants.

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
  the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
  they have eyes, but they do not see;
they have ears, but they do not hear,
  and there is no breath in their mouths.
Those who make them
  and all who trust them
  shall become like them.
….
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 136
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever.
O give thanks to the God of gods,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who alone does great wonders,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who by understanding made the heavens,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who spread out the earth on the waters,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who made the great lights,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
the sun to rule over the day,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who struck Egypt through their firstborn,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
and brought Israel out from among them,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who divided the Red Sea in two,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
but overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who led his people through the wilderness,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
….

It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
and rescued us from our foes,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who gives food to all flesh,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever.

O give thanks to the God of heaven,
  for his steadfast love endures for ever.