Blessed be the name of the Lord!
For thousands gather this day to glorify you in worship, examine ourselves and our ministry in your name, order the life of the Church, experience the miraculous blessing of fellowship in the Body of Christ, and discern your will for us for the coming year.
May all this and more be done, in accordance with your will, and always through your ways.
Fill us with hope, equip us with your divine wisdom, and lead us into the paths of righteousness with hope and humility.
Teach us to sing with new passion the songs of our faith. Teach us to see you in others, especially those with whom we do not agree. Teach us to be slow to speak, yet quick to listen. Most of all, help us discover the self-control to be slow to anger (James 1:19).
We cry out to you from our brokenness as individual disciples marred by our sinful inclinations, and as a community of faith which has committed its own sins by commission and omission. Yet through it all your grace abounds.
You love us when others would not, even ourselves. You lead us when we are stiff-necked and reckless about the power and authority we wield in the name of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. You forgive us when we are unwilling to forgive each other. You never forsake us, but continually draw us closer to yourself.
Forgive us once more, that we may reveal your Gospel of grace in all that we are. Enable us to forgive others, one another.
Today may we remember with great thanksgiving that long before we were ever the people called Methodists, we were your people. Yet now, as the people called Methodists, let us share our gifts, our theology, our prayers, and our hope with all the world, continuing the life-saving ministry of Christ himself.
Open us once more to your Holy Spirit, so we may hear you before ourselves. Rekindle our connection and our passion for unity. Help us in our frailty to cling to you before anyone or anything else. May your will be done, and nothing less.
This is your day, and what a blessing, a gift it is! Thanks be to you, Mighty and Merciful God!