A Prayer for General Conference 2019

Delegates from around the world for the United Methodist Church’s General Conference will meet in a special session to address the church’s position related to human sexuality, particularly disagreements about same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ clergy.

This is my prayer as delegates convene February 23-26, 2019.

O God, thank you for all you are doing in and through your Church, including the United Methodist Church!

Throughout the life of the Church, questions have arisen that have threatened the unity of your people. We see it in the Bible (e.g., Acts 15), and we’ve seen it in the centuries since. Sometimes the Church has handled it well; other times, not so much.

This particular battle has been brewing for decades and there seems to be no easy way forward. Thank you for those who have helped the church prepare for this time of “holy conferencing.”

We pray for safety as delegates from around the world gather in St. Louis.

We pray for wisdom, discernment, and courage as members of General Conference determine the best way forward. Guard them from distractions. Help the conference to take action that honors you and moves the church forward.

We pray that you will be glorified not just in the decisions that are made but also in the way those decisions are made. Be present in the discussion and debate. Give the Bishops wisdom as they preside over difficult and challenging conversations.

We pray for the United Methodist Church following this conference. Give each of us—local churches, members, pastors, district superintendents, Bishops, etc.—peace, patience, wisdom, courage, and compassion as we respond to action taken by General Conference.

As we go forward, may we focus on our mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Help us bear fruit for your kingdom!

We pray, in this atmosphere of political division, that the world will know we are disciples of Jesus by our love for one another. We pray as Jesus prayed, that “(we) will be one” (John 17.21, CEB).

O God, we put our hope in Jesus, who told us, “apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15.5, NLT) and, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19.26, ESV).

Thank you for what you are going to do this week and beyond, for your glory and honor!

Amen.