FROM THE BISHOP
I chose the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference session, “When They Prayed,” based on Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they gathered together was shaken, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
While it seems so obvious that prayer is the center of our work, sometimes we need to make intentional efforts. It is so easy to get sidetracked by the business and agenda items of our meetings. We add more to our plates, we find ourselves in a cycle of busy-ness, and we stay in problem-solving mode. All of this distracts us from listening for God’s voice and seeking God’s will for our churches and lives. This collective focus on prayer allows space for the Holy Spirit to guide our work.
Each day will offer a specific prayer focus centered around praying as certain Biblical figures prayed.
Sunday: When They Prayed: When they prayed like Naomi
When we pray blessings on others, God redeems, Ruth 1:8
Monday: When They Prayed: When they prayed like Nehemiah
When we acknowledge our shortcomings, God rebuilds, Nehemiah 1:5
Tuesday Morning: When They Prayed: When they prayed like Mary
When we rejoice and give thanks, God reveals, Luke 1:46-56
Tuesday Afternoon: When They Prayed: When they prayed like Peter
When we pray boldly, God revives, Acts 9:40
As I pray for our time at Annual Conference, I am hopeful that we can leave our time together with a renewed sense of purpose for our life and ministry in each local church. Let’s put the distractions of the past few years behind us for we know that further decisions about The United Methodist Church are a year away. Let’s not waste a moment on anything but what God is calling us to do now!
I am praying we can be poised with a sense of confidence, boldness, and courage to be Christ to our communities.
I am praying we discover our purpose and do so with a prophetic voice. Remember, all we do is to magnify God.
I am praying, hoping, and expecting God’s people to do great things.
Yes, that’s what happens when God’s people pray! May it be so!