03.18.20 | Congregational Development
"Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks." -- Philippians 4:16 (CEB)
During this time of crisis, it is critical that Christians pray. We asked the pastors of the Baltimore-Washington Conference to share a prayer with us, that we might share them with you. These are free to share and use as you wish, with proper attribution (please). We also welcome your contributions to this page. Please send them to Erik Alsgaard at .
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling invites you to join her at 12 noon every day to pray the Lord's Prayer. “More has been accomplished by prayer than the world will ever know,” the bishop said. “We may be unable to gather physically, but we can gather in prayer-and that is a powerful presence.” An English version, from the Contemporary English Bible, is below. Read the same prayer from the King James Version, the Revised Standard Version, The Message transliteration, and in Spanish. Visit Biblegateway.com for many more versions and translations.
"Our Father who is in heaven, uphold the holiness of your name.
Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven.
Give us the bread we need for today.
Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,
just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.
And don’t lead us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one." (Matthew 6:9-13)
The United Methodist Women offer this Prayer and Responsive Reading for Those Affected by Coronavirus
Delores Martin, BWC Lay Leader
A PRAYER FOR CLERGY’S FAMILY
Great, wonderful, and almighty God: families are a special blessing. In this moment, I thank You for the families of our bishop, district superintendents, and all the clergy of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. They enrich so many lives in so many ways. Too often we forget to tell them how important they are to us and how much we appreciate their gifts of time, sacrifice, and service. Help us to find the right times and the right ways to show our appreciation and love for them. Help us to remember to tell others of this appreciation, so they may be reminded to share their love as well. The expectations and great demands on the bishop’s family, as well as on the clergy’s families are great, and we pray that You will strengthen and sustain them through these difficult times. Pour Your blessings upon their homes and enable them to find time to nurture their family relationships and just simply enjoy being together, especially those with young children. I pray this in the matchless and wonderful name of Your Son and our Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Rev. Dana Werts, Brookhill UMC in Frederick:
A prayer for these times
O God, how long will this madness last? We are surrounded on all sides by our enemies- fear, despair, anger, and grief. Our plans are crushed or postponed until further notice. Our calendars are emptied of our “must do’s.” Our companions have become images and voices on screens. This invisible terror lurks on the hugs of love, the breath of friends, and in the constant panic alerts from our devices. But then we remember that You are our shield and our strong tower. You are the lifter of our heads and the light that makes our way clear. We take small steps, holding your outstretched, germ-free hand. We cannot hold the hands of others, yet. We can hold each other in prayerful love, walking together with courage the way before us, as our enemies fall one by one, until life breathes easy again. Then, like eagles, we will soar, not zoom. Then, we will join the joyful parade of those who go to your Holy House and lift the roof with Hallelujahs and feast without cares at your table! Amen and Amen.
Rev. Laurie Gates-Ward, Good Shepherd UMC in Waldorf
A prayer for teachers
Dear Lord: please surround these teachers as they face uncertain days without students in classrooms. As they worry for the most vulnerable of their students, may you hear their concerns rising to you for children who face days without adequate food, who are caught in cycles of abuse that will be heightened at this stressful moment, and who lack safe places in which to live. May you assure these teachers that the love they have shared with these children and youth are being felt in the hearts of those students in this time of social distance. Lord, please assure these educators that while their plans are in flux, that your plan for them continues to unfold. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Rev. Cynthia Belt, Harwood Park UMC and Mt. Zion UMC in Elkridge
A prayer for these days and times
God of our days and times: come close to us in this hour. Calm our hearts and minds, restore our spirits, and give us peace. Lord, allay our fears, bolster our courage and our compassion, increase our capacity for love. In this season, we have been made uncomfortable; our movements have been curtailed; we are inundated with often conflicting information; our minds are racing – but – we cling to your promise to be with us always. We are your creation and our hearts can safely trust in you. During our time of social isolation, help us to get closer to you. Let compassion rise in us and send us an extra anointing of your love. Allow us to hear your voice amid the cacophony of voices around us and restore our joy. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen.
Rev. Laura Norvell, Faith UMC in Rockville
A prayer for her children
Keep them safe.
Help them grow strong.
Surround them with good people.
Help them find joy.
Rev. David Wentz, retired Elder
A prayer for the church
Oh Lord, who makes all things work together for the good of those who love you and are called to your purpose: so many of your churches are unable to meet in person today. Work this for good! Open hearts and minds to new ways of connecting, worshiping, praying, and serving. Bless internet connections, telephone networks, cameras and mics, and finances. Give pastors and tech people wisdom and peace. May these services not be poor imitations of a televised service, but a new frontier of interaction as the body of Christ. Let us use this time to equip families and small groups of neighbors to be church and have church. And when we can come back together again, which we pray will be soon and with all our people, let us remember what we will have learned, and let it make us a better church. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Rev. Ben Roberts, Foundry UMC, Washington
A prayer while wandering in the desert
Loving God: you held your people as they wandered the desert. You provided when the landscape changed, and the familiar felt distant. You are God who is unchanging in time of rapid change. Your love is without end, your grace is without end, your mercy is without end. Your arm of protection and guidance is without end. We lift all who carry a sense of fear or anxiety today. Provide for us a vision of your promise to be our God even in the fog of confusion. Grant this world clarity, so that we never forget our duty and call to love one another. Help us as we reach out in new ways. We lift up those who have no home in which to rest. We lift up those for whom more time at home is a danger unto itself. we lift first responders, social workers, and our hospitals as we all move into new ways of caring for one another. Be in these days as a reminder that distance is not absence. and that life-giving water still flows from you. Amen.
Rev. Joe Daniels, Emory Fellowship, Washington, D.C.
(This prayer, by Cameron Wiggins Bellm, was offered at Emory by the Rev. Joe Daniels)
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when our schools close remember those that have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love during this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other. Let us find a way to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbor.
A Video Prayer for a World Facing the Coronavirus – this video with accompanying text, helps us examine our hearts this Lenten season as we turn our hearts, hands and prayers toward others.