Friday, January 27, 2012

Lord, Teach Us to Pray

I am a United Methodist, in part, because this is the church that taught me to pray. I am still learning what prayer means and how God breathes grace through the living soul as we pray.  Prayer lies at the heart of the Christian Church, as it was part of who Jesus was and what he imparted to his followers.  Prayer has also been part of our emergence as a Church, in the lives of Phillip Otterbein, Jacob Albright, and Martin Boehm all bear witness to John Wesley’s teaching that “God does nothing apart from prayer”. 

If you are reading this article in print or electronically, you are part of the great cloud of living witnesses to the gift of life in 2012.  Galatians 5:6b speaks of faith that expresses itself through love.  I am inviting you to claim the privilege and power of prayer this year.  Our faith is expressed as we exercise spiritual disciplines of prayer and love, shown in outreach to our neighbors.  Love and prayer are connected for me.  I remember being taught the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm at home by parents and grandparents who imparted a theology of love for God, expressed in prayer and love for others as we prayed for family.

 To be a United Methodist Christian is to continually come before Jesus Christ and petition, “Lord, teach us to pray”.  I commend to you a resource for 2012 from The Upper Room, “50 days of prayer before General Conference”.  As we prepare for the gathering of United Methodists this spring in Tampa, Florida, Bishop Larry Goodpastor, President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, and I invite you to pray daily and fast on Thursdays.  Expect God to use the Church as an instrument of incarnation, love and justice in an often misguided world.  Miracles happen every day.  Lives are opened wide to the unpolluted love of Christ Jesus through the power and practice of prayer. 

No prayer no power,

Little prayer little power,

Much prayer much power!

Be Encouraged,

Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble

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