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 General Commission on General Conference, which has responsibility for the planning required for bringing together more than 2,000 people (860 delegates, plus alternates, press, and visitors) in St. Louis, MO, in February for a historic Special Session of General Conference. Our connectional giving means that this meeting can be a global gathering with representation from wealthy countries and poor countries, bringing all voices to the discussion. 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 2019 Special General Conference at http://www.umc.org/topics/general-conference-2019-special-session.
Note: The following prayers relate to lectionary texts selected for use in Discipleship Ministries’ worship resources. February 3, 2019, concludes the Greater Gifts Worship Series, so it is included here.
January 6, 2019 – Epiphany Sunday
God of the Ages, your angels announced the birth of your son to lowly shepherds, and those shepherds 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)
January 13, 2019 – Baptism of the Lord
God of Water and Wind: We worship this morning, grateful for the good things that fill our lives, but many of us carry within ourselves feelings of emptiness, unworthiness, disappointments, and failures. We desperately need to be reminded that, in our baptism—as in the one Jesus received— there is an affirmation that we are claimed and loved by you just as we are. We could do more; we could be better; yet you say to us, “My child, with whom I am well pleased.” May we open our hearts in generosity as those who are claimed as beloved children. In the name of the Son, who pleased you so well, we pray. Amen. (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22)
January 20, 2019 – Second Sunday after Epiphany
Holy God who gives and then gives more: it’s the offering time again. We pass the plate and place a gift of money to sustain the mission of your church, here and around the world. We are reminded that we have other gifts as well, not noted on our bank statements or balance sheets. You have given each of us spiritual gifts, not to make us rich but to make the world richer, more compassionate and more just, because we were here. Open our eyes to those gifts, and where and when you would have us use them. In the Savior’s name, we pray. Amen. (1 Corinthians 12:1-11)
January 27, 2019 – Third Sunday after Epiphany
Holy and One True God: We sit in our seats this morning, with space around us, lest we be uncomfortable or make someone else uncomfortable. We sometimes feel we can stay as an island, protected and guarded, and still be faithful to you. Then you remind us that we are part of one body in Christ and that every part, from the greatest to the least, is important to the whole. So as we give our gifts this morning, we are reminded that our generosity strengthens us and the whole body, here and in the farthest parts of the globe. This, we pray in that holy name above all others, Jesus, the Christ. Amen. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31a)
February 3, 2019 – Fourth Sunday after 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 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)
January 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]
*Photo of “The Dome” at the America Center by Dan Donovan, courtesy of the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission