This 60 Days of Prayer booklet serves as a response to the most important request recorded in scripture, “Lord, teach us to pray.” We invite you to join the delegates, bishops, and leaders of the 2016 General Conference in their spiritual preparation for the event, through the event, and the days after.
Every local congregation in every part of the world can pray with and for the 864 delegates of the 2016 General Conference. Using the Internet and downloadable texts, every United Methodist will read the same scripture, consider the same insights, and pray the same prayer for forty days prior to the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon (March 31 to May 9), each day of the General Conference (May 10 to 20); and nine days following the event (May 21 to 29). We can all participate in the same experience of scripture, word, and Spirit.
Prayer lies at the heart of Jesus’ life and work and remains essential for us and for the church. Prayer played a central role in the work that God began through John and Charles Wesley in eighteenth-century England. In North America, the lives of Philip Otterbein, Jacob Albright, and Martin Boehm all bear witness to John Wesley’s teaching that “God does nothing apart from prayer.” As the Methodist movement spread to the Caribbean (1759), Sierra Leone (1792), Australia (1815), Africa (1816), and Latin America (1830s), prayer served as the primary source of spiritual direction and vitality. In Asia (1783) and the Pacific (1822), the story is the same. We believe that God wants to lead and shape the future of The United Methodist Church through prayer.
This guide to prayer will:
- serve as a daily guide for elected delegates of the 2016 General Conference.
- provide a means for those present at the General Conference to be united, surrounded, and supported with prayer.
- engage every United Methodist man, woman, youth, and child in prayer. Every family, small group, and local church around the world can pray with and pray for this General Conference.
open a new pathway for spiritual growth and faithfulness in all congregations, for all members and friends—united in prayer as the body of Christ.
- establish a prayer network within The United Methodist Church that can actively support the spiritual preparation needed before the General Conference, intercede faithfully during the days of the Conference, and participate in the spiritual implementation of the decisions made at the General Conference.
What will happen as we pray together? No one knows for sure. However, we believe that the will of God will come through prayer and discernment. The pages that follow offer us the opportunity to unite in prayer for God’s will to be done in God’s way and in God’s time.
Lord, teach us to pray.
—TOM ALBIN Dean of The Upper Room Chapel
—DENISE MCGUINESS Executive Director, Living Tree Services, P.S.
General Conference Prayer Team Co-chairs