April 14, 2016
Dear Hyde Park Family,
[youtube width=”500″ height=”350″]https://youtu.be/CSOZ46ari6M[/youtube]
The General Conference of the United Methodist Church will be gathering from May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon. This is the chief decision-making body of our denomination and is the only entity that can speak on behalf of all United Methodists.
Nearly 1,000 delegates, comprised of clergy and laity from the United States and around the world, will gather under the theme “Therefore, Go” for a time of prayer, discernment, and debate over matters of mission, discipleship, spiritual formation, and many hotly contested issues of our day.
In spiritual preparation for this important time, United Methodists have been asked to participate in a 131-day season of prayer, in which each annual conference will devote a single 24-hour period to praying for the needs of the church and the world. The host Oregon-Idaho Conference began on December 2 of last year, and today, April 14, is designated as our day of prayer for United Methodists of the Florida Annual Conference.
So, I am asking you to do your part today to offer your own prayers for this critical gathering of the church. You may choose to use the following prayer that I wrote to guide or even constitute your prayers. Or, you can visit this website for other prayer resources.
A PRAYER FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE, AND OUR TIME
God of Grace and Glory,
In Jesus, you drew near to us to show us the way of life, redeem us through the cross, and exemplify humility and servanthood. You summoned disciples to follow you and called them to unity, and gave them the command therefore to go into the world and make disciples of all nations.
We give you thanks for making us spiritual descendants of those first disciples, and contemporary recipients of that same charge. We pray for your church, specifically for the People Called Methodist, as we prepare for General Conference.
We praise you for the global connection of the body of Christ. We celebrate the reach of the gospel to places near and far, and marvel at the common heritage we share with Wesleyans around the world. We pray for safe travel and a spirit of joy to sustain delegations from Africa, Europe, the Philippines, the Caribbean, and the Americas.
- Therefore, go with these disciples from all nations, and teach us all to observe what you have commanded us.
We give you thanks for the people you have chosen, through a process of election and holy discernment, to serve as our delegates from Florida. We pray for clergy delegates Sue-Haupert-Johnson, Alex Shanks, Rinaldo Hernandez, Dionne Hammond, Harold Lewis, David Dodge, Cynthia Weems, Jacqueline Leveron, and Sharon Austin. We pray for lay delegates Molly McEntire, Derrick Scott, Alice Williams, Mickey Wilson, Russ Graves, Jeremy Hearn, Rachael Sumner, Carlene Fogle-Miller, and Janet Earls.
- Therefore, go with each of them, to grant them discernment, stamina, and a keen attentiveness to your will.
Though you still seek the incarnate work of your Spirit through the holiness and obedience of your people, we confess the persistence of our most base human tendencies: the preservation of self, our avarice of power, a deafness to justice, and rancor in our rhetoric.
- Therefore, go within us, to grant General Conference a fresh awakening to your Spirit.
Though you have created us to be varied parts of the vast body of Christ, and graciously granted us different gifts, perspectives, life experiences, and social connections, we confess that we have chosen to focus more on those differences, rather than our common identity in Christ.
- Therefore, go among us, to grant your church a profound sense of unity.
We pray for a fresh reminder of your mission for the church, amid the weighty and controversial issues of our day. We pray for hearts to be softened by empathy, for ears to be sharper than tongues, and even minds to be changed by unprecedented openness, so that the principal headline will be the victory of your kingdom, and not the advancement of any one faction.
- Therefore, go in grace and glory, and on your people pour your power.
Finally, we pray for renewal in your church and revival in our land. Teach us the way of peace. Show us how to pursue justice. Reveal to us the wisdom that comes from humility. Unleash your gospel through the passion of your people, that your church may be a light to this and all nations. And remind us, at each turn and in every way, to fulfill your great commandment to us:
- “Therefore, go into the world, and make disciples of all nations.”
In the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church, and the Way that Leads to Life,
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist