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Transformation through prayer

By the Rev. Christopher J. Kurien
Director of Connectional Ministries, Eastern PA Conference

Rev. Dr. Christopher KurienScripture instructs us to pray without ceasing, to see every moment as an opportunity to pray, whether it is a time of crisis or just an everyday, routine moment.

Prayer acknowledges the presence of God and reminds us that God’s redeeming power and purposes are always at work. We have ample evidence that prayer can heal hurts and resolve crises. But it can also transform our lives—even everyday, routine moments—into tremendous blessings and testimonies of faith.

On Saturday, March 18, we will learn much about transformation through prayer at our conference’s fifth annual Faith-Sharing Seminar. From 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM we will gather and enjoy again the hospitality of New Hanover UMC, as our featured speaker, Dr. Terry Teykl, teaches us about Prayer and Evangelism.

A leading “prayer evangelist,” author and popular speaker, Dr. Teykl previously led a workshop on prayer in our conference, and it was well-attended by an enthusiastic audience. Because much of our Annual Conference session and other events this year will focus on prayer, we decided to invite someone who is a recognized speaker and facilitator on this essential, life-changing aspect of our Christian life.

Core of our Christian discipleship

Indeed, I believe prayer is at the core of our life of Christian discipleship. Prayer connects us with God and reveals God’s plans and provisions for us. Prayer also connects people, bringing them together to discern God’s will and direction for the Church. In that connectedness, that togetherness, we gain an awakening to our oneness in Christ, our greatest source of power.

With General Conference approval, our denomination’s Council of Bishops established a special Commission on a Way Forward to examine church law and new understandings of human sexuality. The bishops also created a related, supportive church-wide prayer initiative titled Praying Our Way Forward. It is an effort to get United Methodists praying for one another, for their local churches and for The United Methodist Church. This initiative demonstrates that we recognize the power of prayer in bringing people together, in discerning God’s plan, and in bringing about transformation.

I invite us to pray without ceasing for any areas of our lives, our churches, our nation and our world that beg for transformation. No matter what, the context of ministry can be challenging. We can meet and overcome challenges with prayer by intentionally praying together in our congregations, church councils, committees, boards, classes and small groups.

Imagine also if we had groups praying for the pastoral leadership, staffs and volunteers of our local churches on a daily basis—especially when they are in the pulpit or leading a workshop or Bible Study.

One of the characteristics of the first century church is that members came together to pray. Prayer bound them to one another and renewed their passion for spreading the gospel. That is how they changed the world for the sake of Jesus Christ.

May we follow their leading, as others follow ours. There is a world waiting, yearning to be transformed, and unceasing prayer is the key.