Praying in your district, circuit or church
The weekly online prayer meeting is an opportunity to be part of an experience of prayer across the Methodist Church as a whole, gathered together online for 15 minutes on Tuesdays. There will be other opportunities in this year of prayer to pray together at district, circuit and local church levels.
Here are a few suggestions which may be helpful for planning activities around the year of prayer although there is obviously more scope for inspiration and vision beyond these:
- Include a prayer focused on the Year of Prayer in every worship service and/or meeting. (Consider the ‘breakthrough prayer’ or a similar prayer.)
- Incorporate the year of prayer’s focus on evangelism and growth in the Methodist Church into planning for existing prayer groups or establish new prayer groups particularly for the year of prayer. (You may wish to refer to suggestions below about ‘breakthrough prayer’ which could be adopted by prayer groups.)
- Build the year of prayer’s focus on evangelism and growth in the Methodist Church into planning for Thy Kingdom Come 2021. With Pentecost Sunday falling on May 23rd 2021 there may also be fruitful possibilities for linking this up with Aldersgate Day.
- Commit to praying consistently and persistently for a breakthrough by God in the life of the Methodist Church Connexionally and/or locally.
In her book Floodgates: Holy Momentum for a Fearless Church, Sue Nilson Kibbey describes a particular approach to ‘Breakthrough Prayer’ which has been widely adopted in the United Methodist Church. The principles she outlines will be familiar to faithful praying people everywhere including the Methodist Church in Britain, but it is helpful to see them brought together in a concise description. There are at least three ways in which we can pray for a breakthrough by God in the life of a church or of the Church as a whole:
- We may not be sure what is needed but we know that some change is needed, so we bring that need to God, not telling God what we think should happen but just laying the present situation before God and asking that God will work in whatever way is best.
- When we have, through faithful, continuing, prayerful discernment, identified particular needs or situations which require some kind of change we may engage in specifically targeted prayer, not expecting that God will do what we think is best but what God knows is best for the particular need or situation.
- As the fruit of continuing, persistent prayer we may invite God to work through us in ways that are greater than we can even ask or imagine, not as something that we are able to plan and schedule on our own terms but in response to the moving of God’s Spirit amongst us so that every aspect of the life of the church is saturated with prayer.
These suggestions, and others which aren’t listed here, can be used together in a comprehensive commitment to praying communally, as a local expression of the body of Christ.