Offertory Prayers and Invitation for March 2013

by Ken Sloane

Beginning in January we expanded the Offertory Prayers to include at least one "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. If churches find this helpful, we will work to provide more of these invitations. 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 13 United Methodist Seminaries in the U.S. Giving hope to a student like Kelvin Mulembe, who is studying for his Master of Divinity at Wesley Seminary in Washington D.C. His call came while growing up in Zambia, experiencing homeless and poverty as a child, but encountering others who had it even worse. Like many others, he gave his life to selfless service through the church. Seminarians of all ages are being shaped for ministry because of your offerings that reach around the world, in this case through the support of the Ministerial Education Fund. I invite you once again to give generously as we worship God through the sharing of our gifts, tithes and offerings. 

Note: More of Kelvin's story can be found at:  www.umcgiving.org

 

March 3, 2013 – Third Sunday in Lent
Patient God, you watch us all our lives, anxious to see the fruit that would be appropriate for those who have been blessed so fully. You see glimpses of it, we hope, in our lives. We know that many times you have not seen it, and we have left you disappointed. Yet you have not withdrawn your love from us, not an inch. You have not withheld your blessings from us, not for a moment. May the gifts we give to you this morning be a sign of our desire to live lives that bear the fruit you desire: compassion, mercy, faithfulness, forgiveness, justice, courage, and love. We pray it in the name of Christ, our Savior. Amen. (Luke 13:1-9)

 

March 10, 2013 –Fourth Sunday in Lent
Creator God, through the gift of Christ and through his sacrifice, we are no longer just a collection of cells and tissues. We are a new creation, made over by your redeeming work in Christ. As new creations in Christ, you have put us to the work of reconciliation: reaching out in all those places where people feel far from your great love and drawing them closer to your loving embrace. As we offer our gifts this morning we offer ourselves to this ministry of reconciliation. Help us to open our minds to the possibilities, open our hearts to true compassion, and open our doors so that we might share that love with those who have felt far off from it and forgotten. We pray in the name of Jesus, the embodiment of that love. Amen. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)

 

March 17, 2013 – Fifth Sunday in Lent
Almighty God, as we proceed on this journey to the cross of Calvary, we are reminded that there are outpourings of love that can't be measured and weighed in dollars and cents. Like Mary who bathed Jesus' feet with costly oil, we seek those moments when we might express our love for Christ in ways the world might judge extravagant or foolish. May the offering we make today expand into extravagant expressions of love offered every day of our lives. We lay this prayer at the anointed feet of Christ, our Savior. Amen. (John 12:1-8)

 

March 24, 2013 – Palm/Passion Sunday
Holy God, as we witness again the triumphant entry of your Son into Jerusalem, we have to ask ourselves on which side of the parade we stand. Do we follow Jesus for the whole journey, even when it leads to the cross, a symbol of suffering and death? As long ago they laid cloaks on Jesus' path, so we place our gifts on your altar to help make a way for Jesus to enter hearts. Help us remember that some who shouted "Hosanna" were later among those who stood with the crowds who shouted, "crucify him!" when that was the safe place to stand. Grant us the courage to stand with Christ when the road is hard and the way is risky. We pray it the name of the Messiah and King! Amen. (Luke 19:28-40) 

 

March 31, 2013 – Easter Sunday
Glorious God of Life and Light, even as you broke into the sealed tomb so long ago, you break into the dark tombs we find ourselves in even today. You've rolled away stones and led us into the light of new days we never thought we would see. Remind us that you call us to bring others to the light of new life in your Son, our Savior. Remind us that we bring others to that light through the words we share, through the lives we live, and through the mission and ministry we empower through gifts of time, talent, and treasure. May our whole offering, our very lives, give testimony to life that overcomes death and light that defeats any darkness. In the risen Christ, we pray. Amen. (John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12)

 


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