God of all grace, creator of the universe, Father, Son, and Holy spirit, I pray for our Methodist church. I pray for each annual conference gathering that is taking place and the one I will attend in the Alabama West-Florida Conference.
I pray that these days ahead where we come together to engage in what Wesley called “Christian Conferencing” will be a time where we stretch beyond what we can accomplish by ourselves and reach what is only possible when we practice true social holiness. Not merely polite debate, not merely respectful difference, but that brand of spiritual gathering that enables us to surrender more of our hearts to your transforming love.
I pray that where differences are discovered that you would bring unity and resolution not just through a divided vote that ensures people stay on the opposite side of an issue; rather, I pray that you would pour out your Spirit on all those gathered in every annual conference and make them one with Christ, one with each other and one in ministry to all the world.
Empower those who disagree put down their dividing rhetoric and pick up the words of peace and reconciliation. Enable those who approach life from different points of view to receive a holy vision of what the world looks like through the eyes of the other.
But more than all of that, I pray that you would awaken the Methodist church from its slumber. I pray that these annual conferences would be the moment where the statistical decline of the United Methodist church in America ends. I pray that you would use these gatherings do do far more than decide on minimum salaries and direct billing. I pray that you would begin something new, that you would spark the next great awakening. I pray that you would call your people to prayer and fasting and that our world would be set on fire by a passion for scriptural holiness.
May these annual conferences be a profound means of grace in the lives of thousands across our connection.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit I pray. Amen.