Isaac Gaff - Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts
As Randy mentioned last week, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will be meeting this week in St. Louis to consider legislation on how the UMC will interface with persons in the LGBTQ community – specifically in regards to marriages and ordinations within the UMC. As members of a local United Methodist Church, General Conference matters often feel far away and unimportant to many of us. While this specific issue is of great importance, the distance we feel between the local church and the worldwide General Conference can still lead us to complacency about our part in the matter. As members of the Body of Christ (the Church) we are all called to prayer – not simply as a means to an end, but as a way of life that opens the mind of Christ in us (see Phil. Chapter 2). Even though we will not cast ballots in this decision, our work is of equal (or perhaps greater) significance. When we pray together as the church; our hearts, minds, wills, and strength(s) begin to feel, think, act, and look more like Jesus.
The Upper Room (a ministry of the United Methodist Church) has called us to pray together each day for at least four minutes (to represent the four days of General Conference). I encourage you to pray the following four minute prayer sequence (developed by the Upper Room) several times throughout the day today and in the days ahead. Add or edit as you need, but take the opportunity to join millions of methodists around the world in prayer during this important time in the life of our church. The prayer sequence begins below.
Minute #1 Prayer of 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.”
Minute #2 Prayer of Thanks
God of grace, we thank you that 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.
Minute #3: Prayer of 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.
Minute #4 Prayer of Asking
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. All of these prayers we offer in the name of the Risen Christ. Amen.