A PERSONAL PRAYER
I love you, God. So thank you today for people to love, as I act out my love for you. Thank you today for people who love me. Thank you for a place to belong, a community where I am welcomed, pursued, valued. Thank you for showing up in our midst, the Holy Spirit binding us together.
I confess, God, that sometimes I get confused about what matters. I find myself focusing on tasks to be done, milestones to be reached, instead of the people who join me in the work. Too often, I look at people as tools to accomplish an agenda, build a program, grow a ministry, rather than understanding that the people are the ministry itself. When Jesus saw the multitudes who came to him, he “had compassion on them.” Loving them in concrete ways was the mission. One at a time, he loved them. Caring for them each as his sister or brother.
So God, I pray that I will see your face on the people you have put in my path today, and that I might love you by loving them.
In the name of Jesus, who was a person himself, and who showed us what love looks like. Amen.
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This Sunday, we conclude our series on Starting with Middle C. We have talked about convictions – having something to believe in, the rock in which to anchor your life, and about commitment – having something to anchor your life to, or for. This Sunday we will deal with the third essential C – community – having some people to love. Come and worship!
Scripture + Shared is here! I have been studying the letters of James and 1 and 2 Peter this summer, and am anxious to teach it to you in our eight session study this fall. Groups will begin meeting this coming week, beginning September 23, and I will begin a sermon series on September 30 covering the letter of James. There are daily Bible readings, commentary and explanation, and reflection and discussion questions on the Scripture + Shared app and St. Luke’s website. The video curriculum (also on the app and website) includes conversational lessons in which I visit with other St. Luke’s pastors and staff about the letters. Find a group and learn how to download the app at stlukesmethodist.org/bible.
At St. Luke’s, we pray! Join us this Sunday night, September 23, 4:00 p.m., for Fall Prayer Harvest Service in the Fellowship Hall. The whole church family is coming together for a special time of prayer as we harvest the leaves from the prayer tree and begin anew as we turn our hearts back toward God. I will share a brief devotional on prayer, and we will practice it together.
When Hurricane Harvey hit, staff and members from Broadmoor UMC in Baton Rouge and many others went above and beyond to help us and our city. We are eager to pay their generosity forward as persons impacted from Hurricane Florence struggle to recover. St. Luke’s is partnering with Myers Park UMC in Charlotte, NC to support this effort. Please visit www.myersparkumc.org/disasterrelief if you’d like to contribute and don’t forget to pray for those in the affected area.
Sunday, September 23
Heavenly Father, we look back over the past year with gratitude for all that has happened in the life of our church. Thank you for the ministries, people, and moments where we saw your Spirit move among us. As we look forward to the future we pray for your guidance to follow in the path that you have for us, both as your church and as individuals. May we have a front row seat to the work of your Holy Spirit in 2019. Amen. -Prayer by Rev. Thomas Harper
Monday, September 24
God, thank you for the gift of this new day. Fill it with opportunities to serve you and share your love with others. Show us how to be a blessing to those who need it most. Amen.
Tuesday, September 25
Lord help us to focus on what is beautiful and not what is ugly in our lives. Help us to see other people as you do and give us more capacity and patience to love others better than we do now, Amen.
Wednesday, September 26
God of love, thank you for redeeming us through the gift of your son, Jesus. Thank you for restoring us and making us whole again. Help us to focus on our new life in Christ. Amen.
Thursday, September 27
Loving God, sometimes things in life are hard, and I need some encouragement. I pray that you would bless me and encourage me today as I persevere. Give me what I need to run the race you have set before me. Amen.
Friday, September 28
God, I know that true freedom is found in your truth and not in the lies of the world. Help me to live by your standards and not those of the world. Hold me in the palm of your hand, and keep me close in relationship to you all the days of my life. Amen.
Saturday, September 29
Thank you, God, for the community of faith here at St. Luke’s. Thank you for the clergy who guide us on our journey of faith, thank you for the staff who support our journey of faith, and thank you for church friends who walk beside us on our journey of faith. Amen.
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