REFLECTIONS FROM PASTOR AMY JO
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” -I Thessalonians 5:17
In prayer, we communicate with God, listening for God’s guidance, inspiration, and leading in our lives, as well as sharing with God our joys, hopes, concerns, and needs. Through time spent in prayer, actively communicating with God, our relationship with God grows deeper and our faith grows stronger.
When we join the church as a member, we vow to support the ministries of the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Fulfilling the first part of this vow by supporting the ministries of Saint Paul’s UMC with our prayers, we may participate in praying for the church in many ways. We may be part of the prayer chain of the congregation who lead the congregation in prayer, praying for urgent and immediate prayer requests. We may also pray for each of the individual prayer requests that are printed in the bulletin each week. These are both wonderful ways to fulfill our membership vows. In addition, I encourage us to also pray for the congregation’s ministries as a whole and for the Church universal. In worship for the past several weeks, we have prayed for the Holy Spirit to breakthrough and lead Saint Paul’s UMC together into a new season of mission. These prayers coincide with our participation in the Healthy Church Initiative, inviting the Holy Spirit to inspire us through the Healthy Church Initiative process. I invite everyone in our congregation to participate in the prayer initiative, pausing to pray every day and including the Breakthrough Prayer listed below in our prayer time:
God of new life, pour out your Holy Spirit on us and do a new thing at Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church. Breakthrough our human limitations and lead us into a new season of faithfulness and fruitfulness. Transform us into your image, so that new people will come to know you through us.
Open our hearts to new inspiration. Open our lips to sing your praise. Open our eyes to see your image in our neighbors and new visions of justice, peace, and hope in our community. Open our hands to go, serve, and share. Open our minds to your wisdom and guidance. Open our doors to receive new people in your love.
Many of our members are using a 3-minute egg timer to remind themselves to pause and pray every day, beginning with the breakthrough prayer, listening for God in the middle, and ending with the Lord’s Prayer. (More sand timers are available in the office, if you want to stop by to get one!) If you find yourself praying together with children, there is also a children’s version of the prayer which is shorter and includes rhyme:
Bless our church in a new way.
Help us be like Jesus every day.
Open our minds and hearts to learn.
Open our lips to praise, and our hands to serve.
Open our eyes to see the people you love
And welcome them in, to be here with us.
Won’t you join me in praying for God to bless our church in a new way? I believe that God has a special blessing in store for the people of Saint Paul’s UMC during the coming year.
Pastor Amy Jo