I have always been a strong believer that prayer "works." I remember as a child, praying nightly the same memorized prayer that my sister and I "developed," including a prayer for all of our family and friends by name and also a prayer for the "whole wide world except for the bad people." Well, my prayer may not have been theologically coherent, but the intention was pure--by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to present my requests before God. I remember that understanding growing as I learned different ways to pray, through journaling, through reading Scripture, in groups and alone. I also grew deeper in my faith as I read Richard Foster's book Prayer and Bill Hybel's book Too Busy Not to Pray. I read of believers across time who have prayed and then the impossible became possible, such as Peter's miraculous release from prison in Acts 12, even when the church who prayed for him so fervently didn't believe it when he was released! Prayer is a means of connection to God, but also has become a lifeline to me, as through prayer I have experienced God's love, the love of community, and even sometimes the challenge of being corrected. That's why this is so important.
Starting on May 18, a prayer effort for 40 days will be beginning. It is not an "official" action by any group, but rather a response by some folks to an Open Letter that was posted by Ben Simpson. The result of the Open Letter is a prayer campaign that has involved clergy, young and not-so-young alike, who are interested in lifting the UMC up in prayer in an intentional way. The hopes for the prayer effort include a sense of witness of the work of Christ in our lives individually and also in the UMC. Would you be willing to pray with us?
You can find the prayers here. They are being hosted on the UMC Young Clergy website that has just been officially launched! I do hope that you'll join me in prayer.