Community of Prayer is a 29 day devotional guide created to accompany God’s people on the stewardship journey. We prepare for Christmas with the quiet anticipation of Advent. We prepare for Easter with the disciplines of Lent. There is another event in the life of the Church that requires preparation: making a financial commitment. If we want to be a full partner in the unfolding Realm of God around us, we cannot come to the moment of commitment with our best without being grounded in an understanding of stewardship.
The Center for Faith and Giving and Christian Board of Publication are pleased to announce the availability of Community of Prayer. With the inclusion of small group study materials along with 29 days of meditations and prayers, this resource becomes your latest tool in equipping the saints in the spiritual discipline of stewardship. Now your congregation can arrive at a moment of commitment fully prepared to offer the best gift possible to resource mission and ministry.Order Your Copy Today
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See what others are saying about Community of Prayer…
Community of Prayer offers daily reminders of the abundant love that calls us to live with hope — an especially powerful message in a popular culture warped by the fear of scarcity. Bruce Barkhauer’s inspiring meditations and prayers ground the life of stewardship in a vision of God’s gracious care that frees us to live each day with generosity, compassion, and a burning passion for justice. They highlight the clear biblical link between human justice and care and appreciation for the earth. I am moved by this series of meditations. I believe you will be too. – Richard Lowery, Author, Hebrew Bible Scholar
Community of Prayer is not a resource someone thought they ought to write. It is a sacrificial gift to the Church from Bruce Barkhauer who has chosen to give his full heart, soul, mind, and strength to the work of generosity by God’s people. Bruce reminds us that stewardship is a spiritual discipline. As such it deserves a season of prayer and reflection, and listening to the voice of God in our lives. – George Bullard, the Columbia Partnership and Faith Soaring Churches Learning Communities
Bruce Barkhauer has written a devotional guide that is a great gift to the church. These 29 devotionals will challenge us to ask “Who and what do we really worship?” They are not words that simply affirm that God loves us, but to wrestle with how much do we love God. The lure of this world is that stuff will save us and that possessing is the solution to our most pressing needs. How false! I urge you to study these devotions for 29 days. It will not take more than five minutes a day. If at the end of the month you do not like who you have become. Then you can have your old life back-no questions asked. – J. Clif Christopher, President, Horizons Stewardship Co.
So often, the planners of the annual financial campaign do little more slap a bunch of financial figures in front of the congregation and beg for money. Small wonder that congregations sometimes struggle financially. Bruce Barkhauer puts a well written, easy-to-read, practical resource in the hands of churches to bring theological depth to the annual financial campaign. On each of 29 days, the book offers a theologically provocative meditation and a prayer around themes of generosity, stewardship, and transformation. A bonus: a “going deeper” section for each week that an individual can pursue or that can spark a small group discussion. A congregation whose members use these materials will deepen spiritually, feel more connected, and become more generous. – Ronald J. Allen, Christian Theological Seminary, Professor of Preaching and Gospels and Letters
Divine love-human generosity-flourishing earth-healthy communities-God’s realm-rest. Through daily meditations and weekly deeper dives, Bruce Barkhauer connects the stewardship dots. In so doing, he weaves a tapestry picturing God and God’s people in mutual giving that blesses the world. Worth the read. – Sharon E. Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
I am pleased to endorse this book as it addresses a challenge most congregations face come their annual fundraising appeal; how to embrace fundraising as a ministry and stewardship as a spiritual practice. This twenty-nine day discipline has the potential to transform stewardship from the sheer drudgery of fundraising into a celebration of authentic spiritual joy and Christian discipleship. Giving is not a one-time act, giving generously is a journey and Barkhauer provides with food for the journey. – William “Bill” Enright, Founding Karen Lake Buttrey Emeritus Director of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving
For some congregations and their leaders, the anticipation of a financial stewardship emphasis is unfortunately not always the upbeat kind. In Community of Prayer, Bruce Barkhauer encourages making a financial commitment to the ministry of the church as an essential, transformative, and yes—celebratory moment! Daily meditations lead into four weekly emphases suitable for individual or group study. By engaging with Scripture and story, readers will gain a deeper understanding of stewardship that will lead to joyful and faithful generosity. – Marcia Shetler, Executive Director/CEO, Ecumenical Stewardship Center
A Sample – Day 21
While [Jesus] was eating dinner, a woman came up carrying a bottle of very expensive perfume. Opening the bottle, she poured it on his head. Some of the guests became furious among themselves. “That’s criminal! A sheer waste! This perfume could have been sold for well over a year’s wages and handed out to the poor.” (Mark 14:3–5, MSG)
What would you give a year’s salary for? You may be able to name a few things for yourself or your family, but can you imagine simply giving away an entire year’s worth of earnings? That, and much more, is the value of the gesture the woman in this story makes.
What could prompt such an action? The account is told in all four gospels, each with a bit of variance. Only in John 12:1–8 is she named, Mary, and there we are to assume she is the sister of Lazarus, whom Jesus has raised from the dead. In the other three versions she is unnamed. In Luke, she is identified only as a harlot; in Matthew and Mark we know even less about her. The one detail they all agree on is the value of the ointment—and that she pours all of it on Jesus in an unprompted action of love and apparent gratitude.
If the value of the gift offered is to be understood in relationship to the depth of thanksgiving it represents, the story could be asking you to consider just how grateful you are for what you have received. When you consider your life with or without Jesus, how does the value of your offering reflect the profound nature of your appreciation for what God is doing in, through, and for you?
For Focus and Reflection: Does my life reflect what I am most grateful for?
Prayer: God, may my gifts truly reflect the love I am receiving from you. Amen.