Prayer, An Essential Part of our Christian Identity

February has arrived.  The first four weeks of 2019 have been historical in a variety of ways; some good, and others not.  No matter how we reflect upon what is before us; realize there is much work to be done.  I want to focus on what is possible for us here in the Midwest District.  Last month, I sent out an invitation to create prayer shawls, lap blankets, cancer caps and port pillows for those in need of support during a time of spiritual or physical trial.  I encourage each church to invest time in making something for those who are ill, grieving, or in distress. Praying for those who are facing struggles will make a difference in their lives and in ours. Embracing these items as we create them for others, will touch and transform lives.

Our founder, John Wesley, spoke of the importance of prayer in his sermon: A Plain Account of Christian Perfection. In his sermon, John Wesley encouraged his listeners to embrace the words of First Thessalonians 5:17; to pray without ceasing. Wesley stated that by practicing constant prayer, we express our desire to please our Lord and exhibit our love for our Creator.

Prayer is an essential part of who we are as Christians. The cares and concerns we lift up to our Lord, the names we share and the words we utter deepen our relationship with God. The Book of Psalms is a collection of prayers for all times. Some, like the 23rd Psalm, we know by heart. This particular psalm offers us comfort in times of loss. It also gives us assurance that we are never alone. There are 149 other psalms that give us ways to express how we are feeling when we struggle to find any words or seek to find the right words. Let us find ways to pray for one another, speaking the words of the Psalms or sharing the words in our hearts.

The special General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri will convene between February 23 and 26th.  Our denomination is at a crossroads.  If you have not already committed to doing so, I invite you to pray for the delegates, the Conferences they represent, and the decisions before us all, between 2:23 and 2:26 pm each day. Pray the psalms.  Speak from your hearts.  Share your thoughts, hopes even your anxieties as this crucial time for our denomination approaches.  May the Lord bless us and keep us in His loving embrace, now and always. And Amen.