Prayers for the Commission on a Way Forward
Our Annual Conference has been asked to share in a time of prayer for the Commission on a Way Forward during the week of October 1-7. The Commission was set by our Council of Bishops in light of the controversy over matters of human sexuality and our church rules. Please be in prayer for this work. Below you will find prayers that will help you on your prayer journey.
Loving God of all people may the breath of the Holy Spirit touch the hearts and minds of The Commission on the Way Forward! As they work searching for an answer to unite The United Methodist Church, allow your Holy Spirt to guide them. We need wisdom and courage that can only come from you! May each one of us place our heart and our mind in your hands! Unite and heal us O God in Jesus name. Amen!
-Dr. Okey Harless, District Superintendent, Western District
While working on something for another project, I came across a poem by Ann Weems which helps put into words some of the longings of my heart as we pray with hope and love for Our Way Forward. I pray her words.
We don’t pretend to understand the mystery
of what goes on in God’s church.
We just know we feel a pervading spirit of love
that reaches into the niches of all of us
and pulls us out into the open,
free and alive and belonging.
We believe this spirit of love exists because
God’s spirit lives within this Church,
this unity of persons trying
to be the Good News.
We see this Church as a circle of persons
holding hands . . . and dancing . . .
supporting each other, accepting each other,
loving each other.
Each person in this dancing circle
is facing outward . . . reaching into God’s world,
listening for the whimpering,
watching for the hurting,
willing to offer a cup of cold water
in Christ’s name.
Sometimes they need the water;
sometimes you need the water;
sometimes I need the water.
Being a part of the Church
means knowing that
the cup is always filled
In Christ’s name.
The Church by Ann Weems in Searching for Shalom
Westminster/John Knox Press, Louisville KY, 1991
May we find our way forward as we strive to be the Christ’s church. Amen.
Rev. I. Mark Conner, Pastor, First Huntington UMC
Almighty and merciful God, in you alone we place our trust. We trust that you will create order out of chaos as you did in the beginning. Let your guiding presence be with the Commission on the Way Forward as they engage in the work set before them. Help us to seek your will for the United Methodist Church above all else. Amen.
- Chip Bennett: Pastor Bellemead UMC in Point Pleasant WV
Loving God, please comfort us in this time of discord within our church. Grant us peace and patience. God, bless the Commission on a Way Forward and lead them to a decision that will unite the church. Allow the Holy Spirit to enter into the hearts and minds of all of us. Here our prayers, O Lord. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
-Heather Barker, Dillon Chapel UMC
Almighty God, we lift up the members of the Commission on a Way Forward to you. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon each one of them. Guide their steps as they gather information from every area; impart your divine wisdom so that they may discern your will; and may the recommendation they make be pleasing in your sight as we continue to pray for and work toward the continued unity of The United Methodist Church. All of this we ask in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
-Pastor Devin Olachea, Wayne UMC
All-knowing God, I pray to you this morning knowing that your wisdom and knowledge is beyond any understanding of our finite Minds. I know that as we struggle here on Earth to be the best for you that we sometimes fail. So my prayer today is that we stop looking for ways forward but we start looking for ways UPWARDS. I pray this day for the group of dedicated Christians that has an awesome task in front of them. It sometimes appears that there is not a good choice to be made but it is not about choices it is all about you. So I pray this day that you will fill each member of this group with the Holy Spirit and that the direction that is taken is Upward. Impart upon this group your wisdom, love and direction so they may follow your will for our church that we so love. Amen
-Tom Beckette: Pastor, New Haven UMC, New Haven, WV
Abundant God, you give us daily bread and constant love. You walk with us on the journey through life, and move us ever toward community and communion. We confess that we have often failed to allow your Spirit to shape and lead us. Forgive us, we pray. Rooted and grounded in your love, may we allow the fruit of the spirit to grow in us. May love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control infuse our thoughts and actions. Specifically, this day, we pray for the work of the Commission on a Way Forward, for each member individually and for the group as a whole, and for our Church throughout the world. Lead all of us forward, into the future you have for us. Strengthen us, we pray, for the work of being disciples, and of making disciples for you and for the transformation of this world. In Jesus name, Amen.
-Rev Teresa Deane, Pastor, Johnson Memorial UMC
Great God and Father of us all,
Remind us that Your Churches have a high calling, which You seek to lift Your Church above the imperfect places where our individual thoughts are prone to dwell.
Remind us that Your saving love is meant for all people – not just the few we might choose to be part of our gathering.
Remind us that Your love is a transforming kind of love over which You are the Author of change; a change that is meant to form us into Your image. So move us as transformed believers into acts of mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and justice for all people.
Remind us that You create us for community. Grant us the good sense to see those who are isolated by their circumstances in life as those whom You call into Your presence through Your Church. Teach us to live more deeply in relationship with You and with others so that Your people will be made whole through a love we share together. In Jesus’ name. Amen
God's Peace to You
-Kevin Lantz, Pastor of Steele Memorial UMC
Creating God, Sustaining God, Forgiving God, hear our prayers. We are grateful for what you have created us to be, and marvel in the thought that we are made in your image. How can it be that the great variety we see is all your image? And yet we know that our variety is a reflection of your nature. We are grateful that you have created us – by our very nature – to live in community.
We ask that your Holy Spirit inhabit our community – your church – so that we can hear your leading. We ask for the wisdom to discern your guidance for us, and we ask that whatever it is that you plan for us becomes more important to us than our own desires and beliefs. We ask, dear God, that you transform each of us and all of us together into what you envision us to be.
We pray for the church you have created for us – through us – in spite of us. We believe you are among us, and we know you are our hope. Inhabit the work of The Way Forward so that the church we are so grateful for is transformed into the church you created.
We ask for forgiveness for the ways we destroy the work that you lead us to do. We ask for forgiveness for the ways we hurt each other, ignore each other, degrade each other, and judge each other. We ask for forgiveness for when we dishonor the image in which we were created.
We pray all of this, loving God, so that we can be the light you have called us to be, and so that we can have a part in changing the world through you. We pray in your son’s name, Amen.
-Kim Matthews, Certified Lay Speaker