YOU ARE INVITED TO WORSHIP GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON & GOD the HOLY SPIRIT the Methodist Way
WELLBORN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Friday, December 15, 2017
A growing church filled with God's love in Jesus Christ for everyone

A Pastoral Prayer

Rev Dr E. Parker prayed this  On Septmeber 5, 2015
Most gracious Heavenly Father, divine majesty, maker of all, redeemer of the world, you stand above all, you tower over all heights, extend beyond all depths, and sit on your throne of grace in peace and patience. We gather here in this place today, Father, to worship you. Together, we worship in spirit and in truth, acknowledging your worthiness, and endeavoring in our liturgy and word to give back to you at least a measure of what is your due.
 
Today we reflect on your initiative, upon the aspect of your nature that is described in the metaphor of fatherhood. Not only did your intention give us life, but your steadfast love has remaind connected with us, ever linked, in life, in death, and in life beyond death. Never can we escape your love, but as with our earthly families, we can disown you, for children can disconnect from parent, but we can never be anything but yours, never anything but your beloved, never your disinherited.
 
O God, continue teaching us the truth of your love. You have given us Jesus that we might understand the extent of your caring, the price you will pay, the cost you have already borne for the sake of your family, for the sake of the well-being of your offspring. Keep us ever close, we pray, even as we choose to remain close to you, trusting in your love, in your understanding, in your forgiveness, and in your provision. You love us. We know it. Receive our love, however we manage to show it.
 
And, gracious God, we have heard so many issues brought before us today. We know that you continue to be in each and every one of these situations, and that you are active in our midst. We ask for healing for those who need it, travel mercies for those on the busy roads, and in all of the situations spoken on our lips or only in our hearts.
 
In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
 

Rev. Dr. Everett Parker's prayer on August 23, 2015
Gentle and initiating God, we come together this day in prayerful congregation to worship you, to confess together our belief in you, our faith in you, our trust in you. The particulars of your beingness stretch the reach of our human comprehension. We cannot conceptualize your fullness and completeness. We can only approximate, like the proverbial blind man attempting to describe the elephant. And yet, we can affirm your presence, and express our experience of your revelation in terms of our observation of the experience of others, of the sharing of interpretation of the myriad happenings of this life.

There are those who would have us believe that we are alone in this universe, that we are removed from whatever caused our human birth. And there are others who would affirm that we are emanations from your very essence, that our mind is but an aspect of cosmic mind, or universal mind, of your unbounded mind. And we acknowledge that there is so very much that we do not know, so very much we do not understand. But we trust that we do not need to know, that we do not need to understand, that we are free to live our lives without the necessity to have an intellectual grasp on the details of your mystery. In Jesus, you have given to us sufficiently that we can know, that in our loving, and in our being loved, we are in touch with you completely, without the stress of expectation. Teach us to rely on your love the more, and to allow our many philosophies and theories to be just that -- feeble attempts to describe your utter indescribability.

Gracious God, there have been many issues raised this morning, concerns of health and illness, issues involving others. We ask that you continue to be in each and every one of these concerns, Lord, and that you intervene and bring healing and restoration to health for those in need of it. Continue to be with us each and every day. And we ask for traveling mercies for those on the road today, Lord. AMEN
 

Rev. Dr. Everett Parker prayed this of the fourth Sunday of Advent Dec. 21, 2014
   Christmas is upon us, Lord -- it's just days away now. We'll spend the final days being busy making our final preparations. We pray this morning that amid the toys and tinsel, the gifts and groceries, the cleaning and caroling, that we might also make our final preparations for the coming of the Light of World. We pray that we might see more in this Christmas than the mall has to offer. That we might remember Santa Claus, after Christmas Day sales, and wish lists are not the real "reason for the season" -- love is. We are thankful this morning for the love in our lives, and the opportunity to celebrate the most incredible gift of love ever given. We are thankful that love came to us in a remarkable way --- in the person of a tiny baby, a gift from you, God. Help us to see that same remarkable love in the gift of every baby, that every child is holy, that every life is a precious gift of love, from you. Thank you, Lord, for the gifts of life, and love.

   We have spent the last month trying to focus our hearts on the coming of your holy light into the darkness of our world -- on the hope of new life, on the peace of trusting in you, on the joy that fills our hearts when we are in communion with you, and on the love that flows from every pore of our bodies as we open ourselves to your holy presence. Loving God, we celebrate not only the miracle of the Christ child being born in a humble stable so many years ago -- but also the miracle that every Christmas the world is transformed and people who may not think about faith very much throughout the year sing their hearts out at Christmas about this ancient story. For the gift of hope, the gift of peace, the gift of joy, and the gift of love as so powerful and beautiful that every heart is captivated by the story, and every life is touched by it, and your name is praised, and your love is shared, and we rejoice.

   Lord, we pray that we may have a holy Christmas. We pray that we may have a blessed Christmas. We pray today for those who need the gift of Christmas in their lives. We pray for those who feel empty, that they may discover the Babe of Christmas who fills the soul with peace and hope, we pray for those who feel alone, that they may discover that You are always with them, that Jesus is still Emmanuel, and that in Him and through Him You inhabit every heart and transform every life open to His Spirit. We pray this morning for the people and situations that are dear to us, and offer prayers that are not spoken but on our hearts. We ask all things through Jesus Christ -- the Babe of Bethlehem, the light of the world, the one who is both our brother and our Lord, praying the worlds of faith that He taught us so many years ago ... "Our Father...

Rev. Dr. Everett Parker prayed this on December 14, 2014, the third Sunday in Advent 2014
  God of hope, God of peace, God of joy -- our minds are filled with thoughts of Christmas, thoughts of the story of light coming into our darkened world ... thoughts of a little baby named Jesus. Open us now Lord to more than just thoughts -- open our hearts to the joy that awaits us this special season. Open our hearts to the real joy of Christmas, a joy that comes not in the presents we find under the tree, but in the presence of Your light in our lives -- the presence of Your grace, the presence of Your love. Lord, we pray for Christmas presence. We pray for the joy that comes though knowing You, the joy that comes through trusting in You, the joy that comes through living Your way, and the joy that comes through accepting Your gifts.
  There is so much to be thankful for at Christmas, Father. We’re thankful that we have the means to express our affection for those close to us by giving them gifts. We’re thankful for the opportunity to gather together as a community of faith and to focus on the light of the world. We’re thankful for this ever-so-brief season when people seem to find it in their hearts to live more openly, give more freely, love more generously, and walk more peacefully. For this one season, the words “peace on earth” and “good will toward all people” dance on every tongue, lifting up a vision of what the world could be like if Your light and Your way were in our hearts all year long.
  Holy God, we revel in the familiar carols, we bask in the glow of merry-making, and we feast together in celebration. Thank you, Lord, for Christmas. Help us to remember the joy we know when we’re searching for that last gift and fighting for that last parking space. For the mall is not where the joy of Christmas is found -- we find that joy in You, in righteousness.
  We are also mindful that Christmas does not seem all that joyful for many people -- for those who have lost a loved one, for those who have received bad news, and for those who feel alone. We pray for these people, Lord, and for ourselves as well, and we trust in the promise that even if Christmas doesn’t feel happy, it can still be filled with joy, for that is the gift that the Christ child brings -- comfort and joy. And we we offer to you our prayers of concern this holy, holiday season, seeking your comfort, and trusting in your joy.
  God of grace, God of peace, we dare to offer one prayer, we dare to offer the one life we have. Come, light of the world, come, Lord. And gracious God, we ask you hear this prayer in the name of Jesus, who taught His disciples so long ago to repeat this prayer, as we do now: “Our Father....
 

Rev. Dr. Everett Parker Prays Thus on December 6, 2014, Second Sunday of Advent

   O Lord, our God, we are watching, waiting and preparing for Your coming once again. As the skies darken around us, our lights are glowing more brightly, warming our chilly towns. Our Advent candles flicker and our hearts beat more quickly as we expect You to come and dwell among us once again.
   At this point in the Advent season, we can't help but rejoice! You may be so far away, but we sense that You are drawing near. May we remember, as the apostle Paul said, to "rejoice always," to "pray without ceasing," and to "give thanks in all circumstances" during this season of Advent, and throughout the year.
   Yet giving thanks in all circumstances can indeed be a challenge to us living in this world today. When war and terror grip many parts of the globe, when bombs explode on buses in the Middle East and children die as innocent victims of politically motivated violence there and in other parts of the world; or when accidental circumstances claim the lives of young people who were just starting out in life; or when the working poor in this country despair of ever being able to make a decent living and have enough resources to be able to afford enough food for family, let alone Christmas gifts for their hungry children, we ask, O God, how long?
   How can we give You thanks as though all were well when we know that it isn't? How long must we keep waiting for Your promised salvation to arrive? Yet as the darkness of our lives seems to surround us and to hem us in and to threaten our very existence itself, may the light of Your hope continue to flicker more strongly in our souls as we sense that the world as it is is passing away.
   May we truly prepare for the new day that is coming, for the light that shines from the future. May we rejoice in Your promise of redemption and salvation, for us and for all the world. May our hearts leap for joy at the message of Good News which first came to impoverished shepherds on a barren hillside so long ago. And may we hasten ourselves toward Bethlehem, to see for ourselves the One who is to be our Savior, the babe in a manger, Jesus Christ. May we live the way he lived, rejoicing and giving thanks in all circumstances and holding fast to that which is good. And may we continue to pray together in Jesus' name, "Our Father, who...
 

REV. DR. EVERETT PARKER PRAYS THUS ON NOVEMBER 30 2014
First Sunday in Advent

   God of Love, God of Joy, God of Peace, God of Hope -- we bow our heads in reverence as we open our hearts to you and lift up Your holy name. How awesome you are, Lord, how amazing. Your Spirit lifts us, Your grace blesses us, Your mercy heals us, Your love enfolds us, and we are at peace. We are so thankful that You are.

   We're thankful that no matter how far we may feel we've turned away or wandered from Your presence, that You are still right here with us -- loving us -- offering us Your heart -- longing to have ours -- waiting. In this time of preparing for the celebration of Christmas, help us to keep our focus on You and Your incredible gifts while we're caught up in the busyness of the season.

   Help us to keep Jesus at the center of all we do. Help us to carve out time to pray and reflect on Your in-breaking, world-changing, life-giving power as we prepare for our holidays.

   In this season of Advent, we watch, we wait, and we pray. We are reminded today of the Hope that is known when we accept Your offer of relationship. The Hope that grows as we learn to trust in Your grace and Your promises. The Hope that in this season of gifts, of decorations, and entertaining there is something greater than all the trappings -- for Hope itself has come, and is coming.

   In the spirit of Hope, we lift up the names of people this community of faith wants to pray for -- we lift up all of the concerns just now spoken, and all of the needs and concerns unspoken, for You, Lord, know what they are. Lord, as Your church we only really seek two things -- Your will and Your way. Grant us the wisdom to discern Your will for our lives and help us grow the faith and trust we need to walk in the Way of Jesus. And in this season of preparation, of repentance, of surrender, and of waiting -- we listen for the words that You speak to our hearts today.

   Break through again, Lord. Fill us with hope, and peace, and joy, and love -- and watch over us as we wait in anticipation for the Light of the World to once again burst into our lives in the most amazing and unexpected ways this Christmas. As we prepare, and as we wait, we pray together the prayer that Jesus gave to His followers centuries ago, saying, "Our Father, Who art in Heaven..."

Rev. Dr.Everett Parker prayed these words in October 2014

God of love and light, we pause now to reflect on the incredible ways in which our lives are filled with joy -- and to be thankful. We know joy in our experiences -- the successes we have known, the sense of wonder we feel, the exhilaration of accomplishing difficult tasks, the satisfaction of doing our best -- and we are thankful. We know joy in our relationships -- the love that is shared within our families, the caring of our friends, the camaraderie of the groups we are part of -- and we are thankful.

We know joy in our faith-life, too, God -- a joy that comes from trusting in you and your promises to always love us, be part of us, and offer us your peace. And as we fill our hearts with trust in you, you will our hearts with joy -- and open us up to the beauty and wonder and miracles of life that surround us.

Maybe the one thing we should be most thankful for is Jesus. Help us to see that everything Jesus said and did was inspired and enriched because of His deep, abiding connection with you. His was a life full of joy, full of grace, full of peace, full of you! And because of His life and teaching and His willingness to follow your will and your way, even to the cross, we, too, can aspire to live lives full of you. We are challenged and inspired by Jesus. We are convicted to try our best to follow in His way, in your way. Thank you for Jesus.

Gracious God, help us to remember that your blessing on Jesus' life wasn't just because He offered you His best, but because He offered you His all -- all His joy and pain, His elation and His frustration, His calm and His anger -- His life and His death. Help us to see that's what you want from us as well -- not just our best, but ourselves -- our whole selves. We live in the sure hope of the promise of your joy, but we don't always feel giddy and joyful, and that's okay. Joy doesn't just come from happy experiences, but from the deeper peace of trusting in you.

And so we open up our hearts now and share with you our deepest feelings and prayers. We offer you our happiness, our sadness, our mourning, our concern, our anger, our discouragement, our questions, and our dreams. Incline your ear, Lord, and hear our prayers. We're thankful that this place of quiet and calm, where we pause and listen for your voice, and where we connect to your presence, is a place we can return to at any time. It isn't a physical place -- not a church or a pew, it's a deeper place, a place that can be found wherever we are -- for there you will be, waiting.

We are grateful that you have given us many ways to connect with you -- through singing, through silence, through listening, through service, and through our personal prayers, and our corporate prayers. And all of these things we offer in the name of Jesus, who taught us so long ago to pray this prayer, saying, Our Father...
 

Rev Dr. Everett Parker prayed thus on September 28, 2014
 
God of grace, patience and love,
We come to you today seeking forgiveness for all the times we have failed you. For all the times we have failed to live up to the people you have called us to be. For all the times we have failed ourselves. 
We ask that you look past our sinfulness and our doubts. We ask that you mend the broken places of our hearts and fill the empty spaces of our souls for we are a broken people.
Continue to mold us and shape into the people you call us to be. We are desperate for healing, we are desperate for forgiveness and we are desperate, indeed, for the promise of redemption to be renewed in us and through us.
For all the times that we fall short. For all the times that we shut you out of our lives. For all the times we rebuild the walls you continue to tear down, for all of these things,  Lord, we pray for your grace and mercy.
Again and again, we pray with everything we have, Lord. We pray for this church and its leaders. We pray for our community and the people who walk through our doors each and every day. We pray that this place would be a place where your Spirit is felt and where you and your disciples may call home. 
We thank you for your faithfulness to us and to this community. For all of those who are in need of healing, we pray for your intercession, Lord. For all of the issues and concerns that have been raised here this morning, we ask for your attentiveness, Lord. For all of the silent prayers that have not been uttered on our lips, but lifted to you silently, Lord, we ask your intercession.  
God we are your people and again today we come into this place seeking to find you in the songs, the prayers, the sermon and the sacraments. We are again listening …. Waiting for your voice to be heard. Wash over us in these sacred moments and allow us to be still and know that You are God.
So long ago there was a prayer that Jesus taught his followers, and we repeat that prayer now, saying...
 
 

 
Rev.Dr.Everett Parker prayed thus on September 21, 2014
 
Gracious God, You have called us to come out of the world this day and into Your marvelous light. You have called us to leave behind the cares, and worries and frustrations, and to come rest in the Your blessings. We have come, and we join with Christ’s triumphant church of all places and times in worship and praise.

We praise You and bless Your holy name, O God, for the whole creation, that bears Your handprints everywhere…that shows forth Your wisdom and bears Your glory written large upon it. We praise You and bless Your holy name for the evident and constant attention and care of Your creation. Complexities too great for us to understand and too small and subtle for us to see or perceive are sustained moment by moment through Your power, O God…put together by Your wisdom.

Holy God, we praise you and bless Your holy name for the gift You have given to us in Your Son…that in Him, O God, we have salvation…the forgiveness of sins…that in Him, O God, we know that we can trust…we know that we can lay our lives, our fears, our concerns before Him, and not only be heard, O God…but be healed.

We give You praise and bless Your holy name, O God, for Christ’s church…that on this earth You have established it…that You have given us this denomination, and pastors to watch over us. We give You thanks for the brothers and sisters with whom we stand shoulder to shoulder. 

 and Father, we pray for our brothers and sisters who are in persecution. We pray, O God, that You would give them relief as well. We look forward to a glorious day, O God, when You walk the face of this earth with Christ’s people, that we might again hear Your footsteps in the cool of the day, O God…when there is no need for light, no need for sun nor moon, for You will be all the light that is needed…and that light will be glorious.
  We pray, O Father, do the work in our hearts to make us fit for that. We pray, Father, look upon us, for You know us better than we know ourselves, O God. Where there are evil ways within us, seek them out and drive them out. 

 Lord, there are many for whom we have concern. There are issues of health, well-being, and many of the issues known only to you and not spoken on our lips. We pray for the family of Betty Zobel. Give her family comfort in these days of grieving, Lord.

 And Lord, we praise You and bless Your holy name that You have given us Your Holy Spirit, that He resides in us, that He has taken up residence, that he is the One who will shape us. We pray, Father, that He might be about that business. And Father, You tell us in Your Word that we don’t really know what to pray for. That which we hold up, O God, is surely just a sliver…surely nothing compared to that which we should hold up. We pray Father, by Your Holy Spirit…make our prayers here complete.

 So long ago, Father, there was a prayer that Jesus taught us, and we repeat it now, saying: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.......
 

Rev. Dr. Everett Parker prayed thus on 9/14/14
We live, Creator God, in a world of cell phones, pagers, fax machines and email. The pace of life that we have chosen to run often leaves us breathless and bitter, convinced that there is more to life, but unsure how to find it. So we come to a place like this, Lord, a place of prayer. A place where we force ourselves to sit, to slow down, to relax, to tune in to your holy presence, to drink deeply of your living water. And when we do, we discover that we have raced by thousands of miracles and forgot to stop and take notice.

When we step off the wheel we look around and see that we are, in fact, surrounded by joy. From the wonder and beauty of nature -- of late summer trending into early fall, and flowers in bloom, to the wonder and beauty of the people we interact with -- the laughter of children, the touch of a loved one, a community that cares about us, we are thankful. For the miracles of life, we are thankful Lord. For this opportunity to stop and breathe in your Holy Spirit and be refreshed and renewed, we are thankful Lord.

Caring and compassionate God, as we rest in your holy presence, we lift up the things that trouble our hearts today. We know people who are unable or unwilling to take this time to slow down and breathe in your Spirit and reconnect with you, and we pray for them. May your grace and peace touch their lives, capture their attention, and give them rest.

We know people who are dealing with illness and pain, and are in need of your healing presence, and we pray for them. May your grace and peace touch their lives, capture their attention, and give them rest.

We know people who are afraid of what the future holds -- the possibility of unemployment, the possibility of failure, the possibility of loss, and we pray for them. May your grace and peace touch their lives, capture their attention, and give them rest. For all these people and for the personal situations and peace that grip our hearts this morning, we uplift our prayers of need.

We work, and your Spirit works through us -- we tire, and your presence embraces us, refreshes us, and transforms us -- and we are filled with grace, and love, and purpose -- empowered and emboldened anew to life and serve as your hands and heart in our world.

We pray these things in the name of the One who showed us the incredible joy and power of a life lived for you, a life built and sustained by prayer, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who taught us so long a prayer that we repeat now ... "Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name . . . ."