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Offertory Prayers and Invitation for March 2019

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.

UM News photo by Mike DuBose

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 Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), which works tirelessly to improve the quality of life in the global community. Recently, GBGM convened a summit in Africa called “Multiplying the Loaves: The Church and Agriculture in Africa.” Bringing together approximately 80 leaders from across Africa, the event helped bring a broad spectrum of stakeholders in dialogue around two questions: “What best practices and resources within the United Methodist connection already address food security and livelihood challenges in Africa? In the current landscape of dwindling church funds, how can the African church strive toward self-sustenance through agriculture?” These types of conversations bring the hope of self-sufficiency to many who live in poverty. 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 Global Ministries and the Summit at umcmission.org/learn-about-us/news-and-stories/2019/january/multiplying-the-loaves-summit-highlight-africas-agricultural-sustainability.

Note: The following prayers relate to lectionary texts selected for use in Discipleship Ministries’ worship resources. March 3, 2019, completes the “See All the People” Series; “With All Your Heart” Lenten Series begins with Ash Wednesday.

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)

March 6, 2019 – Ash Wednesday

God of grace and mercy, as we begin this holy journey of Lent, we remember that regardless of how many times we have turned away, following the world instead of following you, you still wait with open arms and hopeful heart for us to repent and turn back toward you. We present these gifts as a tangible sign of the desire of our hearts to return to you and of our deep gratitude for your unconditional love and willingness to welcome us home. In the name of our savior, Jesus the Christ, we pray. Amen. (Joel 2:1-2, 12-17)

March 10, 2019 – First Sunday in Lent

Holy Source of all good things, we bring our tithes and offerings to your altar in gratitude and in full knowledge that we are not deserving of the many blessings you have poured into our lives. Our offering cannot begin to repay the many gifts we have received, most clearly the gift of our redemption through your son Jesus Christ. May our act of giving be the proclamation of our hearts to all the world that we are so desperately in need of a savior; and in love, you provided Jesus. By your love alone, we boldly pray in Christ’s holy name. Amen. (Romans 10:8b-13)

March 17, 2019 – Second Sunday in Lent

God of our salvation, you have claimed us as citizens of heaven; but we know that often our lives have looked no different from anyone else’s, our minds too often locked on earthly things. May the gifts we bring to your altar this morning be symbolic of our desire to let go of all that doesn’t reflect who we are and whose we are. May we be more faithful witnesses, knowing that we are on a journey to our homeland, an eternity with you. In the redeemer’s name, we pray. Amen. (Philippians 3:17-4:1)

March 24, 2019 – Third Sunday in Lent

God of love and forgiveness, we offer our gifts this morning, knowing that we resemble those to whom Isaiah prophesied, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” We have chased after things that we thought would bring joy, and then found them to be empty and unfulfilling. Lord, we long to return to you and invest ourselves in things that last and that bring lasting joy, as we seek you in every moment, with all we have and all we are. We pray this in Christ’s holy name. Amen. (Isaiah 55:1-9)

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)

March 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]

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