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 supported the work of the Black College Fund, which strengthens our 11 historically Black colleges and universities that continue to open their doors to students who seek to make an impact on their communities and our culture. Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, has recently partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to establish the Center for Health Policy at Meharry. Impressed by the work done in the past at historic Meharry, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation made the investment in Meharry to unleash research and new health policies that will provide more access and better healthcare to marginalized people in the U.S. and around the world. This research happens, and the mission of the Black College Fund happens, 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.
We invite you to check out this video about Meharry’s Center for Health Policy: https://youtu.be/TongremHKow
Note: The following prayers relate to lectionary texts selected for use in Discipleship Ministries’ worship resources. March 31, April 7 & 14, 2019, completes the “With All Your Heart” Lenten Series. April 21 & 28, 2019, begin the ”Living” Easter 2019 Series, Part 1.
March 31, 2019 – Fourth Sunday in Lent
Creator and Redeemer, through Christ, you have reconciled us to you. You are willing to look beyond our disobedience and disloyalty and have opened your arms wide in welcome, when, in our repentance, we return to you. May the giving we do this morning be a pledge of our desire to make your redeeming, reconciling love known to others who believe they are not worthy or beyond your reach. May our offering be used to empower that good news. We pray in the name of Christ, our rock and our salvation. Amen. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
April 7, 2019 – Fifth Sunday in Lent
God of all blessings, we bring our gifts to you this morning, knowing that you are the source – not just of these gifts but of all we have. We know that the measure of your generosity is not counted in the value of things we own or the balances of our accounts; but we remember as the Apostle Paul gave testimony, “I regard them as rubbish, in order that I might gain Christ.” As we dedicate these gifts, help us to keep focused on the gift that is greater than all others, the redemption and resurrection made available to us through a growing trust in Christ, our rock and our salvation. Amen. (Philippians 3:4b-14)
April 14, 2019 – Palm/Passion Sunday
Holy and Loving Creator, you are a generous giver; and that’s what we strive to be in our tithes and offering, in our sharing of time and talent through the ministry of the church. We know that’s where the similarity ends. We give a portion, a token; you gave your son Jesus; you offered us forgiveness and redemption from a lifetime of self-absorption and disobedience. “He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.” We dedicate these offerings to you, the greatest of all givers, unworthy servants but for your grace and boundless love. In the name of him whose name is above every other name—in Christ, we pray. Amen. (Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 19:28-40)
April 21, 2019 – Easter Day
Mighty God of Resurrection Power: You offer us life that overcomes death, light that overcomes darkness, hope that overcomes our deepest despair! What could we possibly offer in return? Our tithes and gifts, yes; but our minds, hearts, and bodies, as well. May our minds be about understanding who you are and who you long for us to be in this world. May our hearts overflow with your love and compassion for the poor, the oppressed, and the forgotten. May our bodies carry us out of the tombs of isolation to engage our neighbors as sisters and brothers. May the “Alleluias!” we offer leave this place with us to bring hope to everyone we meet! In the Risen Christ, we pray. Amen. (John 20:1-18)
April 28, 2019 – Second Sunday of Easter
God of Grace and Mercy, we bring our offerings to you this day, confessing that even those of us who give the most are guilty of holding back, of keeping our cards close to the vest, of locking away in a secret room that which we could give, but that we’ve deemed as too costly to share. In this room, we’ve kept our insecurities, our doubts, our feelings of unworthiness, and our suspicions that this Easter promise is just too good to be true for us. This morning, we are reminded that your Risen Son loves to enter locked rooms, and doesn’t always knock, ring, text, or wait for the door to be opened. So, we give our gifts and invite Jesus to visit our locked rooms, leave his peace, and send us forth to be about your work. In the powerful name, we pray. Amen. (John 20:19-31)
April Offertory Prayers & Invitation to the Offering were written by the Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, Director of Generosity & Connectional Ministries, Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church. [email protected]