Churches in two Eastern PA Conference districts hosted broadly intercessory prayer services recently, welcoming more than 70 people in total who gathered to pray for the United Methodist Church’s General Conference 2016. The last of six district “Prayer Posts,” leading up the May 10-20 global legislative assembly, will be hosted by Washington Crossing UMC in the East District on May 1, from 6 to 7:30 PM.
Up to 40 people, ranging in ages from 12 to 88, attended the Southwest District’s prayer service at Ruhl’s UMC in Manheim March 30. They viewed a 20-minute video on praying specifically and strategically, part of the Battle Plan for Prayer Study, inspired by the popular Christian film War Room.
Then the Rev. Rob Timlin, Ruhl’s UMC’s pastor, guided the assembly in praying through the list of suggestions supplied for district Prayer Posts by the Rev. Tim Kreibel, pastor of Bethlehem UMC in Thorndale, which hosted the first prayer service for the Southeast District in December 2015. Kreibel suggested the conference-wide corporate prayer plan.
“We also had people pray as the spirit led, then concluded by sharing in Jesus’ prayer for all disciples in John 17, as well as joining hands to share the Lord’s Prayer together,” said Timlin. “We sang several worship songs at the beginning and enjoyed a sweet spirit throughout the time we spent together.”
The Rev. Jeff Raffauf offered a similar report on the Central District Prayer Post service that West Lawn UMC in Reading hosted April 2.
Again, about 35 people came to worship and pray. They found ample inspiration to do so. The Rev. Andrea Haldeman, West Lawn’s Pastor of Discipleship & Congregational Care, reminded worshipers of God’s call for them be “a people of prayer.” Michael Reinert, a Christ Servant Minister, encouraged the gathered body with his own moving testimony of answered prayers.
“Members of West Lawn’s Prayer Ministry Team led all present in praying specifically to lift up our upcoming the General and Northeastern Jurisdictional conferences,” said Raffauf, West Lawn’s lead pastor, “including prayers for each member of our delegation by name.” Raffauf himself is a member of that delegation.
The final Prayer Post service, hosted by the East District will happen on Sunday, May 1, from 6 to about 7:30 PM at Washington Crossing UMC’s Worship Center. The church, also known as “The Crossing,” is at 1895 Wrightstown Road, Washington Crossing PA. (Phone: 215 493-5080.)
“We will do prayer in the style we have used for years at The Crossing,” shared the Rev. Scott McDermott, lead pastor. “In fact, we meet at least once a month for prayer, and about 100 people usually come.” The congregation will combine prayer for General Conference with its monthly corporate prayer meeting that evening, with a focus on the 10-day quadrennial legislative assembly that will help determine the denomination’s future direction.
“There is a pattern of prayer I like to use in a corporate setting,” said McDermott. “Our worship team will fill the evening with an atmosphere of praise and adoration. Prayer happens best in an atmosphere of God’s presence, of course, and nothing welcomes that more than worship.
“As I see it now,” he explained, “the evening will combine times of personal prayer and praying corporately with some guided focus, and praying in groups, more than likely at prayer stations. The evening will be rather free flowing.”
All three churches–Ruhl’s UMC in Manheim, West Lawn UMC and Washington Crossing UMC–like those churches that hosted the previous three Prayer Post prayer services, are known as congregations that value, teach and engage worshippers in the power of individual, intercessory and corporate prayer.
Main photo: West Lawn UMC Prayer Post Team