Offertory Prayers and Invitation for March 2020
By Ken Sloane
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 work done at thirteen United Methodist seminaries across the U.S. through the Ministerial Education Fund (MEF), one the apportioned funds of The United Methodist Church. Not only does the money support seminaries and theological schools for clergy training as a precursor to full-time ministry, but also 25 percent of the fund stays in the annual conference to support continuing education and renewal for clergy throughout their careers. 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.
Each month’s Offertory Prayers includes an “Invitation to the Offering” 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.
Note: The following prayers relate to lectionary texts selected for use in Discipleship Ministries’ worship resources.
March 1, 2020 – First Sunday in Lent
Holy God, we bring our tithes and offerings to your altar, understanding that we have already received the greatest gift of all, the forgiveness of our sins and transgressions through the sacrifice of your Son. Bless our gifts for your unfinished kingdom work. Remind us as we worship here that this redemption of our lives did not come without price; help us so that we might live always as agents of that boundless love and mercy, making it real to others. Knowing we cannot earn this forgiveness, this wiping clean of our ledger, we can only hope to reflect such grace and compassion in our encounters with others. In his name, we pray. Amen. (Psalm 32)
March 8, 2020 – Second Sunday in Lent
Generous God, our guide on the journey: as we continue in worship by offering our gifts in response to your goodness, we can’t imagine where we would be without you guiding our path – sometimes before us; sometimes besides us; sometimes behind us, nudging us in the direction of the work you have for us. As you have watched over and cared for your creation, so we acknowledge in our giving that you are calling us to do the same. We surrender our treasure, knowing our hearts will follow. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. (Psalm 121)
March 15, 2020 – Third Sunday in Lent
God of Boundless Goodness: We have come to this place this day to worship you with our songs, with our words, with our gifts, and with our whole hearts. Our reading and heeding of the psalms reconnect us to worship that springs from a heart full of gratitude. Use these gifts as part of our praise, and use them in mission in this world so that even those who feel lost and unloved will know they have a God who loves each of them dearly. With praise and thanksgiving, we lift these prayers! Amen. (Psalm 95)
March 22, 2020 – Fourth Sunday in Lent
Good and Faithful God: We bring our tithes and offerings to you this morning as part of our act of praise. The psalmist reminds us that you have filled our cup to overflowing, and we are convicted by the image that perhaps we have only offered to you what spills out of our full cup. In your grace and love, let us see it instead that your love and blessing will not be contained in any vessel, but will always overflow to reach and bless others. May we not only see it this way, but may we live it in lives of generosity. In the name of Christ who gave all and held nothing back. Amen. (Psalm 23)
March 29, 2020 – Fifth Sunday in Lent
Consoling God of comfort and love, we cried out to you out of the depths of our despair, embraced in worry and fear, so that we failed to hear your answers of compassion and hope. Later, we saw that you were there with us, willing to help us with strength and support. We bring more than our gifts and tithes today; we bring ourselves as an offering – ready to use our arms, hands, and feet to be your comforting and strengthening presence to others. We make this offering joyfully and faithfully in the name of Jesus, our rock and redeemer. Amen. (Psalm 130)
March 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]ipleship.org
Ken Sloane is the Director of Stewardship & Generosity for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.