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Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually. 
—1 Chronicles 16:11 (NRSV)

In my early days as a Christian, I struggled to understand the importance of prayer. I didn’t see the point, and because of that my spiritual growth suffered.

Over time, I learned that without prayer I didn’t really have a relationship with God. It was absurd to think that I could call God my friend without talking and spending time with God. So I went to some friends and people in my church and asked them questions such as, “What are the right times to pray?” and “What is the right way to pray?” I learned that praying is all about the heart. No matter what we say, God is always there.

Prayer is a journey into the great relationship we have with God. It is a privilege! Praying isn’t about what we are doing; it’s about what we are looking for — a deeper relationship with God. If we seek with open hearts, God will do the rest.

 Dear God, help us to remember that we can pray to you anytime, anywhere, and about anything. Thank you for always listening. As Jesus taught us, we pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:9-13, NIV) Amen.

 from upperroom.org

 

Posted by Thomas Warren with

Praying Our Way Forward

 

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer encourages all West Ohio United Methodists to participate daily in Praying Our Way Forward until the conclusion of the Special Session of General Conference which ends February 26, 2019. Below are some suggestions and resources for your use.

  • Engage in a weekly Wesleyan 24-hour fast from Thursday after dinner to Friday mid-afternoon.  Those who have health situations causing food fasts to be inadvisable might consider fasting from social media, emails or another daily activity.
  • Pause and pray for our church's mission and way forward daily for four minutes from 2:23 through 2:26 a.m. or p.m. in their own time zone OR at another time.  This is because the Special Session of General Conference will be held February 23 through February 26, 2019.
  • Pray using a weekly prayer calendar that will be posted on the UMCPrays.org website from June 2, 2018, 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.

Parson to Person - July

Dear Friends, 

I have loved my life lived near the heart of the Church.  Never more so than at Armstrong Chapel. Our daily lives are noble teachers when we are attentive.  All of the following happened to me on a bright summer day not long ago on a visit to one of the fine hospitals in our city.

 The beautiful lady I was calling upon was suffering from short term memory loss.  While I was with her, she kept repeating that she had something she wanted to tell me but just couldn’t remember what it was.  When it was time to go, I asked her if I might have a prayer and she answered and I did.  After the prayer, she said to me with a smile and bright eyes, “While you were praying, I remembered what I had wanted to say.  What I wanted to say was ‘please help me’ and your prayer did.”  Leaving, I thought to myself, what a perfect request of our Heavenly Father, “Please help me!  It is always an appropriate prayer.

When I got to the exit door of the locked unit, I realized I was a long way down the hall from the nurses’ desk and that I couldn’t get off the floor without them pushing the buzzer to release me.  Just then, from the other side, a lovely nurse opened the door and eyed me with a modicum of suspicion.  “Can you let me out?” I asked.  “Well, I guess I can,” she replied, with a wry smile.  I have been in lots of closed places over the years where it took someone from the outside to set me free.  At times it has been Jesus.  Other times a friend.  Even at times a stranger.  While I would like to be always adequate for every occasion, it just doesn’t happen that way.

The third learning occurrence that hour was when I entered the elevator on my way back to my car in the parking garage.  There was a doctor already on the lift.  He could be identified by his badge, his coat and his stethoscope.  I guessed him to be Indian and he was supported by a cane in his right hand.  I must have entered with a good stride because he smiled and stated, “It is a good thing to be able to walk!”  It IS a good thing to be able to walk!  Even when your hips grind and your knees ache.  I thought about all the good people I know who aren’t graced with the mobility I often take for granted.  As I drove away that morning, I realized anew how many more gifts I had received in a short span of time than I had given.

 Thanks for spending the time to read this.  I hope you found it as helpful to read as I did to write.

 Love, hope and prayers,
Stanley Lawrence 

Posted by Stan Lawrence with 1 Comments

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