Praying for the General Conference

This coming Saturday, February 23, 2019 representatives from all over the world will be gathering in St. Louis, MO for a special “called” General Conference to consider options for the church’s “way forward” in the light of our divisions regarding issues related to the place of homosexual persons in the life of the United Methodist Church. The delegates from each annual conference will be in conversation and deliberation until Tuesday, February 26.

The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church is encouraging intentional engagement by United Methodists worldwide by asking everyone to pause and pray each day from 2:23 through 2:26 a.m. or p.m. If this time is not convenient for you, choose to pray at another time!

We have produced a prayer guide, based on what we found at UMCprays.org, to help guide our congregation through these four pivotal days of conferencing. Please find time to pray for at least four minutes – or longer!


Saturday, February 23

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 to us as our next breath. With John Wesley we rejoice in 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 are attending the special-called General Conference, assuring them of your love, filling them with your 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.


Sunday, February 24

Minute #1 Prayer of Adoration

God of all people and all places, we rejoice in you and recognize your greatness and your glory. You are present in all people and we love you in and through them. We also acknowledge how great and all-knowing you are, in the face of how limited our knowledge and understanding can be.

Minute #2 Prayer of Thanks

God of mercy and love, we thank you for the work that you have already done in our lives, through your Holy Spirit. We thank you for the miracles that you have wrought in us, and that we are able to work in others – only through your power. Thank you for loving us and knowing us, even better than we know ourselves.

Minute #3 Prayer of Confession

Merciful God, we confess that we have not always been the people that you created us to be. We have allowed strife and division to enter our hearts and our churches. We humbly ask for your forgiveness, as we remember that Jesus Christ desired unity among his followers. We know that your grace is promised to us each day anew, and we thank you for that grace.

Minute #4 Prayer of Asking

God of love, we ask that that your Spirit be especially present and powerful amongst the delegates who are now gathered in the special-called General Conference in St. Louis. Let the words that flow from their lips be bathed in your grace and lovingkindness. Let the thoughts that enter their minds be appointed by your Spirit for the hour. May they be ever-aware of the movements of your Holy Spirit, leading and guiding them.

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


Sunday, February 25

Minute #1 Prayer of Adoration

God of all creation, we praise you as we look around us and see your handiwork everywhere. You are ever-creative, ever-generating, and ever-blessing. You are in everyone and everything. You are King of the universe, and yet you also number the hairs on our heads.

Minute #2 Prayer of Thanks

God who brought the people out of the land of Egypt, we thank you for providing for us. You have always given us what we need (if not always what we want). We thank you for the United Methodist Church you have blessed us with. It is not perfect, but it is one of your vessels for reaching people for Christ in the world.

Minute #3 Prayer of Confession

Gracious God, we ask for your mercy on us, as we are all sinners, standing in the need of Christ’s saving grace. We have not always been people who extended that same grace to others. Melt our hearts and allow us to offer the same love that we have been given.

Minute #4 Praying of Asking

God of knowledge and understanding, we pray today for those who are gathered in the special-called General Conference in St. Louis. Give them that assurance and knowledge that surpasses human ability. Give them that grace and resourcefulness that only you can give. Allow them to see a way forward that is faithful to your plan for this Church.

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


Monday, February 26

Minute #1 Prayer of Adoration

God of all time, we give you praise and glory for your action in our human world. When the time was right, you entered into this world in Jesus Christ, and we have never been the same. We glorify you for who you are – for you are good.

Minute #2 Prayer of Thanks

Loving God, we thank you for all that you have done for us, and all that is yet in store. Help us to be aware of the ways that you are blessing us even now. Thank you for the hard work of pruning us, which you do with such grace and mercy. Allow us to be teachable and moldable, so that you can work in us.

Minute #3 Prayer of Confession

God of grace, we confess that we have not always been people who have allowed our spirits to surrender to you. Give us that freedom now, that we no longer have to carry our own burdens. Relieve us of the weight of the sin that we carry, so that we can be free to be about your work in your world.

Minute #4 Prayer of Asking

God of our church, we pray for the well-being of the delegates at the special-called General Conference in St. Louis. As they finish your business and depart in their many directions home, we ask for your guidance for our church as we move forward. We ask for your grace to be in our conversations and our actions, for your love to be in our intentions, and your honesty to be present in the directions that we take. We love you and desire to be your people.

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

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