Praying Our Way Forward
With about 17 weeks before the 2019 special session of the General Conference, United Methodists throughout the world are engaged in the third phase of Praying our Way Forward. The Council of Bishops, in partnership with The Upper Room, launched the effort after being asked to lead the denomination through the impasse over issues related to the role of homosexual people in the life of the church.
In the first phase, 84 members of the Council of Bishops prayed for The United Methodist Church’s way forward for 15 minutes daily from August to December 2016. Phase 2 resulted in 18 continuous months of daily individual and corporate prayer by faithful members of annual conferences around the globe.
During Phase 3, which began June 3 and continues through the Special Session of General Conference in February 2019, "we are encouraging every United Methodist to fast weekly and to pray daily with the Council of Bishops,” said Bishop Al Gwinn, the Prayer Team Coordinator. In this third phase, United Methodists are invited to:
- Engage in a weekly Wesleyan 24-hour fast from Thursday after dinner to Friday mid-afternoon. Those who have health situations causing food fasts to be unadvisable might consider fasting from social media, emails or another daily activity.
- Pause and pray for our church’s mission and way forward daily for four minutes from 2:23 through 2:26 a.m. or p.m. in their own time zone OR at another time. This is because the Special Session of General Conference will be held February 23 through February 26, 2019.
- Pray using the weekly prayer calendar posted on the UMCPrays.org website. The calendar will list a unique cluster of names each week. The names will balance United States bishops and delegates with Central Conference bishops and delegates. It will also include General Secretaries, Commission on a Way Forward members, the Commission of the General Conference and the staff of the General Conference.
“We believe that the acts of weekly fasting and prayer will help us approach General Conference both individually and corporately in a posture of humility and receptivity to one another and to the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit,” said Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, Council of Bishops Life Together chair.
See daily prayer posts at UMCPrays.org.