Offertory Prayers and Invitation for December 2018
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 http://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 our United Methodist Communications agency in helping raise global awareness of who we are as United Methodists and in providing tools for local churches to strengthen their ministry. Producing high quality outreach resources to assist local churches in being engaging and inviting to those who don’t have a church home is an example of just one the essential ministries of our communications agency. This ministry 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 learn more about the work of United Methodist Communications at http://www.umcom.org
Note: The following prayers relate to lectionary texts selected for use in Discipleship Ministries’ worship resources. Epiphany (Jan. 6, 2019) concludes the "Prepare the Way" Worship Series, so it is included here.
December 2, 2018 – First Sunday of Advent
Holy God of Light and Love: Lead us through this season of journey, not only in our worship, but also in our living. Ignite not just candles, but the flames of our faith, that we might more fully trust you with all we are and all we have. As we offer our gifts to you, open our hearts to the joy of generosity, that we might give compassion recklessly, judgment sparingly, and forgiveness unconditionally. In the name of the Christ, we pray. Amen. (Jeremiah 33:14-16) (Luke 21:25-36)
December 9, 2018 – Second Sunday of Advent
God of Wisdom and Grace: For weeks now we’ve been bombarded with messages telling us what gift to buy to make our Christmas perfect. Yet you, Lord of Love, have given that gift already, against which no other gift can compare – a Savior, a Messiah, Jesus born in Bethlehem. We, ourselves, have been purchased, and so all that’s left is for us to give out of gratitude for that one, unmatchable gift. We bring our tithes and offerings to you for the building of your kingdom here on earth, that your children might always find room—room in our hearts and in our homes. In the Savior’s name, we pray. Amen. (Malachi 3:1-4) (Luke 3:1-6)
December 16, 2018 – Third Sunday of Advent
God of Might and Mercy: Our days and nights are filled with jolly songs, festive parties, and extravagant gifts, beautifully wrapped. We confess we just don’t want to hear a call to repentance in the midst of our revelry. Yet you remind us that without hearing a call to repent, we risk missing the whole point of Christ’s coming. We bring our gifts this morning to your altar, knowing they are not what they ought to be, and we are not who we hoped to be. And in this acknowledgement we become ready to hear the call of repentance and more ready to welcome a Savior. This we pray in that holy name above all others, Jesus the Christ. Amen. (Zephaniah 3:14-20) (Luke 3:7-18)
December 23, 2018 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
God of all good things: This morning, as we draw closer to the blessed birth, we remember Mary and how your blessings come to the world in the most unexpected ways and often through the most unprepared people. Give us eyes this day to see the wealth of ways you have blessed us and the opportunities you have placed before us to be an unexpected blessing to others. Use the gifts we bring to you this morning to bless those who need the good news the most. We pray this in the name of Jesus, who gave in love all there was to give for us. Amen. (Micah 5:2-5a) (Luke 1:39-55)
December 24, 2018 – Christmas Eve
Holy God, as we gather this evening, all our attention is focused on a baby, lying in a makeshift bed in an “it-will-have-to-do” stable. It’s not lost on us that you sent your Son, our Savior, into the world among the poorest of the poor and told us: “This will be a sign to you.” As we present gifts to you, we pray that they might reach those in the greatest need, that they might lift those in the deepest despair, and that they might bring peace and compassion to those who find themselves amidst conflict. We pray this in the name of that Holy Child, Jesus the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer! Amen. (Isaiah 9:2-7) (Luke 2:1-20)
December 30, 2018 – First Sunday after Christmas Day
Magnificent and Merciful God, we come to worship you this morning at the close of one year and threshold of a new one. Our faithfulness in the year behind has not been all that we wished it to be and we know the road ahead of us holds many new challenges and opportunities to be the followers you desire. May the giving of our gifts this morning help firm our resolve to be the disciples of Christ that you desire for the world, full of compassion, mercy and lovingkindness. May we, like your son Jesus, be found dwelling in your presence and love when others come looking for us. In Christ steadfast love we pray. Amen. (Luke 2:41-52)
January 6, 2019 – Epiphany Sunday
God of the Ages, your angels announced the birth of your son to lowly shepherds, and they worship the Holy Child, kneeling beside kings in a stable. You gave us the gift of a Savior, sent for the rich and the poor alike. Every gift given from the heart is blessed by you, and every act that proclaims your love brings joy to you. May the gifts that we offer and the love we proclaim to others in our words and actions satisfy your heart – this day and all through the coming years. We pray this in Christ’s holy name. Amen. (Isaiah 60:1-6) (Matthew 2:1-12)
December Offertory Prayers & Invitation to the Offering were written by the Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship & Connectional Ministries, Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church. [email protected]
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