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 Commission on Central Conference Theological Education, helping to train local church leaders for our rapidly growing conferences in Africa, the Philippines, Asia, and Europe. This work, supported and coordinated through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), is providing trained pastors who are bringing the gospel to people all around the world. 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 read more about the work of the Commission on Central Conference Theological Education, https://www.gbhem.org/article/2-million-be-awarded-through-commission-central-conference-theological-education-fund
Note: The following prayers relate to lectionary texts selected for use in Discipleship Ministries’ worship resources. Feb. 3, 2019, concludes the Greater Gifts Worship Series, so it is included here. March 3, 2019, concludes the See All the People Worship Series, so it is also included here.
February 3, 2019 – Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
God of Limitless Love: We sing praise to you from whom all blessings flow, and we give our gifts and go our way. We know we have taken baby steps toward the life you’ve called us to live. The giving is easy compared to the kind of loving you expect us to extend to others: a love that is patient, unselfish, forgiving, and full of hope that endures through anything. May we grow in our giving, but even more in our loving, as your Son taught us. We pray this in the name of Jesus, who gave in enduring love all there was to give for us. Amen. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
February 10, 2019 – Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
Almighty and Gracious God, so often we have come to worship feeling ill-prepared to give our gifts, locked in our sense of scarcity, and not focused on your abundance. Like Simon in his first encounter with Jesus, we have been too attached to our own way of doing things and resistant to open our lives to you and to experience your abundance. As we offer our tithes and gifts this morning, may we also offer up our willingness to be led by you and to be open to new ways of living and working, so we may know the abundance of nets overflowing. We pray this in gratitude for all your blessings. Amen. (Luke 5:1-11)
February 17, 2019 – Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
God of the least, the last, and the lost: Jesus reminded us as he preached the Sermon on the Mount how much you pour your love down on the ones who are the poor, the meek, the heartbroken, the despised. In his words, we are convicted for ways we have clung so tightly to money and possessions, seeking the comforts, status, and control that they seem to provide. As we bring our gifts to your altar this morning, may your love soak into us in a way that it loosens our grip of the things of this world that do not last, so we may cling instead to your love and redeeming grace, which endures eternally. In Christ’s holy name, we pray. Amen. (Luke 6:17-26)
February 24, 2019 – Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany
Lord of Love and Compassion: How easy the road of discipleship would be if all you asked from us were the gifts we bring to your altar. How convenient would it be if we could write a check or swipe a card and leave here to live like so many do, focused exclusively on our own wants, needs, and passions? Remind us again, as we present our tithes and offerings, that the real challenge of discipleship comes when we leave this place, as you send us into the world to respond in radical love to those who would judge us, hurt us, and threaten us. We pray this in the name of Jesus, who loved and forgave, even as he was tortured and nailed to a cross. Amen. (Luke 6:27-38)
March 3, 2019 – Transfiguration Sunday
Transforming God, we come to your altar this morning, knowing that in our giving and in our living, we have often put “just enough” into living our faith so as not to impact our lifestyle or cause too much discomfort. We have been reluctant to let go of our affinity for the things of this world; and in our attachments, we have often missed the opportunity for the transformed lives you desire for us. May our offering this morning be an invitation to living a life radically transformed by your power, love, and grace. We pray this in the mighty love of Jesus. Amen. (Luke 9:28-43)
February 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. firstname.lastname@example.org