Offertory Prayers and Invitation for December 2019
By Ken Sloane
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 umcgiving.org.
Invitation to the Offering
Your offering last week empowered ministry within our congregation and in response to the needs of our community. It also supports the public outreach and awareness work of United Methodist Communications, who helps local churches let their community know who they are and that they care. The United Methodist Church hit the road on The True Meaning of Christmas Tour in December 2017 to deliver free hot cocoa to passersby as well as a warm invitation to visit a local church and a chance to participate in a service project. The tour stopped in 21 cities across 16 states in just 23 days; more than 500 volunteers from local churches made the outreach campaign possible. Ministries like this happen, thanks to the way the people of The United Methodist Church live and give connectionally. I invite you to give generously, as we worship God through sharing our gifts, tithes, and offerings.
Click here to see the website for "Seekers" who want to know more about the UMC.
December 1, 2019 – First Sunday in Advent
God of mercy and hope, we bring our gifts this morning as we prepare our lives for the gift of the Christ Child. We come reflecting on his past coming to a poor family of refugees, born as they spent the night in a stable in Bethlehem. We know there are gifts to come, although we don’t know when he will return, and so we live in that hope. As we dedicate these tithes and offerings to you, we long for him to be born in our hearts again, this year, in this holy season. In the name of the one who came to save us, we pray. Amen. (Matthew 24:36-44)
December 8, 2019 – Second Sunday in Advent
God of new beginnings, this morning we bring not just our gifts of money, but our very lives. We know we have fallen short of who you’ve call us to be. We have heard the call of John the Baptist to a time of repentance, and we know that call is for all of us. Help us to travel the journey of Advent with the resolve to live lives that more closely resemble the hope you have for us. May all that we dedicate here empower us and others to change direction and set our sights on a closer walk with your Son, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen. (Matthew 3:1-12)
December 15, 2019 – Third Sunday in Advent
Holy God, we know this season is about preparing a way for the Christ to come into the world and into our hearts. As we move through our lives, we are bombarded with invitations to invest our dollars in things that will bring joy to us and those we love, yet we know we must cut through that noise to hear where you want us to invest. We are focused on gifting one another, and we need to hear that you would have us give to those who are the forgotten, the unloved, and those whose need is great. May the giving we do now help us hear your gospel more clearly and see your love for the poor and meek more completely. In your love, we give; in your love, we are sent; and in your love, we pray. Amen. (Matthew 11:2-11)
December 22, 2019 – Fourth Sunday in Advent
Giver of all good gifts, bless the offering we make this morning, a small token to all the blessings you have poured down on us. Into our human weakness, you gave the greatest gift of all: Emmanuel, your presence with us, in Jesus the Christ. Not just a presence, but an invitation: through him, to be your children and heirs to your Kingdom. May our gifts, hymns, prayers, and promises help us realize that Kingdom in our hearts and in our world. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen. (Matthew 1:18-25)
December 24 or December 25, 2019 - Christmas Eve or Christmas Day
Great God, our Redeemer, we sing your praises. Your glorious love shines in the face of Jesus, born a babe in this dark world. We marvel that he generously humbled himself to bring salvation. How precious is your gift of love! Let the light in our sanctuary and our songs of praise spill through the windows to neighbors dwelling in darkness. May our gifts and offerings reflect the light of Christ and, as beacons in the night, draw people far and near closer to you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. (Luke 2:1-20)
December 29, 2019 – First Sunday after Christmas
God of mercy and compassion, as we bring our gifts this morning, we still bask in the warmth of celebrations of Christmas, with tables surrounded by family and friends, tables filled with abundant food and joy. Alongside these blessings, let us also remember this story of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph fleeing as refugees at your direction to escape persecution in their homeland. We can only pray they found welcome and compassion in their flight, and we pray that the gifts we give and the lives we lead will offer compassion and welcome to your children, wherever they are in need. In Christ, who opens his arms to all. Amen. (Matthew 2:13-23)
December Offertory Prayers & Invitation to the Offering were written by the Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, Director, Stewardship & Generosity, Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church. [email protected]
Ken Sloane is the Director of Stewardship & Generosity for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.