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Praying Our Way Forward

June 25, 2018

PHASE 3 - Update, June 3, 2018

Since Jan. 1, 2017, United Methodists around the world have been joining together in prayer for the Commission on the Way Forward. The
Commission on a Way Forward was proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference to do a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and explore options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church.

Bishops kick off Phase 3 of Praying our Way Forward

WASHINGTON, D.C. ---  The Council of Bishops in partnership with The Upper Room is launching Phase 3 of Praying our Way Forward. Phase 1 involved 84 members of the Council of Bishops praying for The United Methodist Church’s way forward for 15 minutes daily, from August to December 2016. This was followed by Phase 2, which resulted in 18 continuous months of daily individual and corporate prayer by faithful members of annual conferences around the globe.

“Now we are ready to launch Phase 3, which begins June 3 and continues through the Special Session of General Conference in February 2019.  In this phase, we are encouraging every United Methodist to fast weekly and to pray daily with the Council of Bishops,” said Bishop Al Gwinn, the Prayer Team Coordinator.

In Phase 3, all United Methodists are invited to:

  1. Engage in a weekly Wesleyan 24-hour fast from Thursday after dinner to Friday mid-afternoon. Those who have health situations causing food fasts to be unadvisable might consider fasting from social media, emails or another daily activity. 
  2. Pause and pray for our church’s mission and way forward daily for four minutes from 2:23 through 2:26 a.m. or p.m. in their own time zone OR at another time. This is because the Special Session of General Conference will be held February 23 through February 26, 2019. 
  3. Pray using a weekly prayer calendar that will be posted on the UMCPrays.org website from June 2, 2018 through the end of February 2019. The calendar will list a unique cluster of names each week. The names will balance USA bishops and delegates with Central Conference bishops and delegates. It will also include General Secretaries, Commission on a Way Forward members, the Commission of the General Conference and the staff of the General Conference.

 “We urge every Annual Conference to use the video available on the umcprays.org website to promote Phase 3 of Praying Our Way Forward.  There will also be a local church media kit with downloadable resources including logos, social media posts, and bulletin inserts available by Memorial Day,” said Tom Albin, director of Spiritual Formation for The Upper Room.

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, Council of Bishops Life Together chair added: “We believe that the acts of weekly fasting and prayer will help us approach General Conference both individually and corporately in a posture of humility and receptivity to one another and to the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit.”

For more details, visit UMCPrays.org.

Watch a short video about Praying Our Way Forward, Phase 3. 

The Rev. John W. Nupps offers a prayer for the Way Forward.

Sample format for Praying Our Way Forward; Annual Conference Pause for Prayer

Bishop:  The Council of Bishops is inviting persons to engage in a weekly Wesleyan 24-hour fast from Thursday after dinner to Friday mid-afternoon.  Those who have health situations causing food fasts to be inadvisable might consider fasting from social media, emails or another daily activity. We are also encouraging intentional engagement by United Methodists worldwide in this season by asking everyone to pause to pray for the special called General Conference from 2:23 through 2:26 a.m. or p.m. each day.  If those times are not convenient for you, you certainly may choose to pray at another time, but the council felt praying specifically at these times which represent the dates of the special called General Conference would be a helpful, effective and unifying discipline for all United Methodists.

This afternoon we now pause as an Annual Conference to pray from 2:23-2:26 p.m.

Centering Comments:  We will begin with a moment of holy silence to allow for centering, settling and focusing. Then different members of the Annual Conference will offer prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, confession and asking. After each prayer, there will a time of silence for each of us to pray silently. We’ll conclude the silence with the words, “Hear our prayer, O God.”    

Pray-er 1:  Adoration

Good and great God, we recognize and celebrate that you are loving, kind and faithful. You are everywhere in this world and beyond. You are also as close as our next breath. With John Wesley, we rejoice knowing, "Best of all, you are with us.” 

Silence, concluding with unison prayer: “Hear our prayer, O God.”    

Pray-er 2:  Thanks

God of grace, we thank you tha

t you hear us when we pray and are ever ready and able to act in ways beyond anything we could ask or imagine. Thank you for our brothers and sisters around the world, and especially for those who have offered to serve by attending the special called General Conference. Thank you for ordering our steps and for preparing a way.

Silence, concluding with unison prayer:  “Hear our prayer, O God.”    

Pray-er 3:  Confession

Forgiving God, We confess that we have allowed fear and distrust to place distance between us and our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. Forgive us for making idols of our own thoughts, voices and opinions. Thank you for forgiving us and for your perfect love that casts out all fear.  

Silence, concluding with unison prayer:  “Hear our prayer, O God.”    

Pray-er 4:  Ask

God of peace and Wisdom, from this time forward, may we walk with you in trust and peace, and with our brothers and sisters in the love and unity you desire. May we truly sing together in harmony a song of praise that draws all to you. Even now, may you bless those who will attend the special called General Conference, assuring them of your love, filling them with you wisdom, preparing them with your peace. May they and we become more sensitive to the voice of your Holy Spirit, so that all we do will please you and bring you glory. 

Silence, concluding with unison prayer:  “Hear our prayer, O God.”    

Bishop: All of these prayers we offer in the name of the Risen Christ. Amen.

Comments
Thomas Mackell/Thomas.mackell@yahoo.com Jul 2, 2018 6:28pm

I pray that they get this right. I believe that the bible is our manual for living. You either believe it or not. The word is unchangeable. Any attempt to manipulate this word, is something I will choose not to be a part of.

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