Offertory Prayers and Invitation for January 2020
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 ministry done by those called be chaplains in a variety of settings through the United Methodist Endorsing Agency, part of our General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. The Endorsing Agency’s role is to equip, approve, connect, and encourage chaplains who serve in sixteen different categories, including hospitals, prisons, colleges, and workplaces. Chaplains must meet and maintain professional standards in the midst of work that can often take a toll on caregivers and may put them in harm’s way. Ministries like these 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 learn more about the UMC Endorsing Agency, part of GBHEM, and some chaplains who serve.
Note: The following prayers relate to lectionary texts selected for use in Discipleship Ministries’ worship resources.
January 5, 2020 – Epiphany Sunday
God of glorious surprises: Like the wise men sent by Herod, we, too, come as searchers for a glimpse of your presence. As were the people in those days, we are surprised that we find you not in a palace but in a stable, surrounded by a family of poor refugees and worshiped by the lowly shepherds. Like them, our gifts from our wealth seem simultaneously too material and woefully shabby and outshined by what you have given us. Just the same, use our gifts for the work of justice, mercy, and compassion – as would befit the savior who sleeps in a manger. It’s in is holy name, we pray. Amen. (Matthew 2:1-12)
January 12, 2020 – Baptism of the Lord
Holy God of redemption and transformation, this morning we remember the baptism of Jesus, as well as our own. Though there was nothing in your son that needed cleansing, we know our insides are not that clear. We have dark, dirty corners that cannot be redeemed through gifts of money or good deeds. Only as we accept and acknowledge your gifts of grace through Christ can we be made clean, healthy, and whole. We give as those who are dependent on your grace, and we pray that our gifts will help others know the cleansing power of grace as well. In the name of Christ who died for us, we pray. Amen. (Matthew 3:13-17)
January 19, 2020 – Second Sunday after Epiphany Sunday
Good and generous God, when John sees Jesus and announces, “Behold, the lamb of God,” we are reminded that God no longer requires an offering as was done in the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus was the offering for our redemption. Our salvation no longer rests on an offering of animals or even money, but God is pleased when we make our whole lives the offering. Bless more than these tithes and offerings; bless the offering of our lives to Christ. In that name we trust, and in that name, we pray. Amen. (John 1:29-42)
January 26, 2020 – Third Sunday after Epiphany Sunday
God of light and love, we have in recent weeks sung our songs announcing the birth of our Savior. We have remembered Christ’s baptism and our own. We have acknowledged the light that came into the world though Christ, and now it is time to hear Jesus’ call to follow. He calls us to follow not just when it fits our schedule, not just when it doesn’t mean giving up something else, and not just when it is safe. We offer these gifts to you as a token, knowing that to truly follow we need to let go of all that calls us in a different direction. Help us to be faithful in following. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. (Matthew 4:12-23)
January 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.