The Council of Bishops and The Upper Room will launch Phase 3 of the Praying our Way Forward campaign on Sunday, June 3, inviting United Methodists to fast and pray through the Special Session of General Conference in February 2019.
The joint corporate prayer initiative began following the 2016 General and Jurisdictional conferences, when the episcopal leaders took on the challenge of charting the denomination’s path forward through its quandary over homosexuality and church law.
Phase 1 involved 84 members of the Council of Bishops praying 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.
Phase 3 extends from June 3 through the Special Session of General Conference in February 2019. “In this phase, 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 Phase 3, all United Methodists are invited to:
1. Engage in a weekly, Wesleyan 24-hour, prayerful fast from Thursday after dinner to Friday mid-afternoon. Persons with health conditions that prohibit fasting from food should consider fasting sacrificially from social media or other attention-consuming daily activities.
2. Pause and pray for our church’s mission and way forward daily for at least four minutes, from 2:23 through 2:26 AM or PM, in a time zone of their choice. This time period was chosen because the Special Session of General Conference will be held Feb. 23-26.
3. Pray using a weekly prayer calendar that will be posted on the www.UMCPrays.org website from June 2 through the end of February 2019. 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 urge every Annual Conference to use the video available on the umcprays.org website to promote Phase 3 of Praying Our Way Forward. There will also be a local church media kit with downloadable resources including logos, social media posts, and bulletin inserts available by Memorial Day,” said Tom Albin, director of Spiritual Formation for The Upper Room.
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, Council of Bishops Life Together chair, added: “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,”
For more details, visit UMCPrays.org.