FEBRUARY 11, 2018
A prayer by Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference and her team,* leading the United Methodist Church in “Praying Our Way Forward” for the week of February 11-17, 2018.
Glory Revealed through SEEKING
Scripture: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on my Name and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
Praise God: For God’s desire to reveal God’s self to us and make God’s self known.
Offer Thanks: For God’s faithfulness to the promises God makes, especially to hear from heaven (2 Chronicles 7:14) and answer our prayers.
Confess: Any tendency to doubt God’s love and goodness toward us.
Ask God: To give us hearts fully devoted to seeking God’s glory continually above all else that we may display the glory of God. “Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Spiritual Discipline: As we begin this week, we recognize that as much as we need bread and water to live, we need the bread of Christ and the living water God offers to us. As you are able, submit yourself to a voluntary weakness and forgo the good food you have to eat this day for the better meal that God has for you.
Reflection: The words “Seek the Lord” appear in both Old and New Testaments of the Bible to remind us to do what should come naturally to us as believers and followers of Christ. Sadly, what should come naturally, doesn’t, at least, not like it should. The truth about us is our hearts become divided. Instead of “seeking” the Lord (some translations say “looking”) with hearts that are fully and wholly devoted to God, too often (if we’re honest) we find ourselves seeking after other things in the place of God. Our hearts get distracted, with our own selves.
It’s what Peter, James and John found themselves doing when they were on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and Jesus revealed his glory. Peter’s response was to remain, exclaiming, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Matthew 17:3-4)
While none of us can fault Peter, and many of us (if not all of us!) would likely have responded the same way, what Peter didn’t understand yet was experiencing Jesus’ glory was not to be an experience for him alone. Others also were to experience it, especially God’s mercy, justice and truth. It’s why Jesus came down the mountain. It’s also why Jesus went to the cross. Jesus went to the cross to display God’s glory.
On the cross Jesus displayed God’s glory by the sacrifice of his life as an expression of God’s love. It was God’s glory Jesus prayed for most of all. His heart torn between his will and the will of his Father in heaven, Jesus prayed, “Father, glorify your name.” (John 12:28) Wouldn’t you know it? God answered Jesus’ prayer! John writes, “Then a voice came from heaven. ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:28)
When the desire of our heart is the same as the desire of Jesus’ heart and we pray like Jesus prayed – “Father, glorify your name.” – seeking God’s glory above all else we fulfill the reason why we were created (Isaiah 43:7). While there will be much about which we will be uncertain, of this we can be sure. When we pray for God to be glorified God will answer our prayer.
So together we pray, seeking God’s glory above all else. We pray for the way forward and we pray, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work with us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
*The contributors (alphabetically) to the Western Pennsylvania Week of Prayer resource are:
- Mrs. Jaye Beatty
- Rev Chad Bogdewic
- Rev Chris Kindle
- Rev. Brad Lauster
- Rev Hannah Loughman
- Rev. D. Renee Mikell
- Rev Robert Zilhaver
For more resources visit the WPA website (click here). The Conference Center will host a conference call for people in the USA to pray with one another as we pray for a way forward for our denomination Monday through Friday during the noon hour EST. Call toll free 877.860.3058 and enter this pass code 5048371. International participants are invited to join through the live stream on Facebook at facebook.com/wpaumc.