CUMC Year of Prayer - December 2016 to November 2017
Prayer is one of the essential disciplines of the Christian faith. According to Daniel Wolpert, in Creating a Life with God
Prayer opens our eyes. Prayer illuminates our minds, enabling the love of God to permeate all that we do. (Loc 137)
It is a practice that we all participate in regularly: in worship services, in groups, and individually. Prayer can be powerful, as we believe when we pray for the needs of others and ourselves. For many of us, however, it is a practice that can easily be pushed aside during our busy lives, often with a stab of guilt. We know that prayer is vital to a living faith, because it is how we speak and listen to God, but we may need a little push to engage more deeply in prayer. Prayer is more crucial than ever during these challenging times. Our nation seems sometimes hopelessly divided with competing interests and values, and that division even creeps into our church life. Our church community is undergoing change, with the death of a significant proportion of the church membership in the past five years and not much growth in new outreach. It is in times like these that we need to open ourselves as individual Christians, as a congregation, and as members of the worldwide church to hear where God is leading us.
With this in mind, we have set as one of our church goals to engage in an intentional Year of Prayer. Although we all know how to pray, we can also all gain a new focus and learn some different types of prayer practices that have illuminated Christians throughout the centuries.
Each month, we will be introducing different types of prayer practices and encouraging each person to set aside time each week, each day to engage in prayer. Through these prayers we hope to gain a new vision for the ministry of Christ UMC and for each person connected to the church, to learn how God would use us at this time and place and into the future.
Again quoting Daniel Wolpert:
Prayer practice is the art of setting aside out own individual desires to see the desire that God has placed on our heart. It is becoming aware of the distractions of our minds and then letting them go, and as we repeat the disciplines over time, we become more skilled at seeing God in all that we do. (Creating a Life with God, Loc 169)
Please join me in committing to a more vibrant and varied prayer practice with the new church year. Some of the practices you will find work better for you than others. I encourage you at least to try them all. You may find that particular practices open up new channels to God.
Susan Haddox, Lay Leader