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Offertory Prayers and Invitation for March 2015

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
The offering you made last week empowered ministry within our congregation and in response to the needs of our community. It also helped support the work of ministries beyond the local church that reach people who are in desperate need to feel the touch of love and reconciliation. Through churches that receive the “One Great Hour of Sharing” offering this year, we will support the disaster-response arm of the church, the United Methodist Committee on Relief or UMCOR. UMCOR is ready to respond on our behalf within minutes of a disaster occurring, and their specialty is long-term recovery. UMCOR is not always the first organization on the scene, but they are often the last ones to leave. 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.

Learn more about UMCOR at www.umcor.org. Find resources for the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering at www.umcgiving.org.

March 1, 2015 – Second Sunday in Lent
God of infinite patience and compassion, we pray that today we will offer not only our gifts of money, but also our gifts of ourselves. We think of ourselves as followers of Christ, but we realize in this holy season that, too rarely, we deny ourselves in living out our discipleship. We have risked little and sacrificed even less for you. Our prayer today is that we might find the faith and courage to love you more than life itself. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Mark 8:31-38)

March 8, 2015 – Third Sunday in Lent
Holy God, Creator and Redeemer, you have commanded us to put no other gods before you. Often, our lives have demonstrated that we have done the opposite. We worship “gods” of power, wealth, beauty, popularity and self-gratification, to name only a few. As we give our gifts to you, we proclaim you as the one and only God of love, deserving of our dedication and praise. In your holy name, we pray. Amen. (Exodus 20:1-17)

March 15, 2015 – Fourth Sunday in Lent
God of grace, though we know we do not deserve it, you love us so much that you give us precious gifts. We tend to give gifts cautiously, to give gifts of minimal value, to give gifts from what remains after lavishing gifts on ourselves. You gave your only Son, so that in believing, we would have eternal life. Our gifts today seem so small, but you can multiply them through hearts that have been warmed and softened, and with them, you can change the world. Change us, the givers, in the process. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (John 3:14-21)

March 22, 2015 – Fifth Sunday in Lent
Holy God of love and compassion, we continue to make our way through the Lenten journey. Your prophet reminded your people that there would come a time when your covenant would be written, not on stone tablets, but on our hearts. We, whom Christ has touched, long to know that your covenant has been written in us. Remind us, that we will find assurance as we reflect your grace in our lives. As we give our gifts this morning, help us to treat others with grace, to love extravagantly and forgive generously. We pray in the wonderful name of Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. Amen. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

March 29, 2015 – Palm/Passion Sunday, Sixth Sunday in Lent
Almighty and everlasting God, as we bring our gifts and lay them at your altar, we remember the crowds in Jerusalem who lay their cloaks on the road, shouting “Hosanna” as Jesus passed. We know they were looking for a Messiah who was different from who you sent Jesus to be – not one of political power and military might, but one who came in compassion and mercy to heal, love, and save. Search our hearts that we might be confident the Messiah for whom we long is the one you know we need – Jesus Christ, your anointed one, in whose name we pray. Amen. (Mark 11:1-11)

Photo: Billy Robinson, South Carolina Conference Disaster Response

March Offertory Prayers were written by the Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship & Connectional Ministries at Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church.

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