2016 Annual Conference Prayers
Day 1, Thursday, June 2, 2016
Prepare Your Heart, Mind, and Soul for the Indiana United Methodist Annual Conference.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
Anyone who knows me knows that there is always a song playing in my head. When I see “HOPE”, I hear “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”
Jesus gives me HOPE.
Yet with our human frailty, how can we most effectively “BE HOPE” to others? Jesus provides the answer. When we ask Jesus to grant us the desires of our heart, He reminds us to delight ourselves in Him first. Then His ways become our ways, and His story becomes our story. We are called to remember and repeat His faithfulness, His Gospel, as it finds application in our lives. The Holy Spirit will then open the hearts of others to hear and see the Glory and Hope of Christ through us.
“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.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
May we humble our hearts to the Lord as we prepare for the Indiana United Methodist Church Annual Conference Gathering; focus our attention to embrace the plans our Lord has in store for our local congregations, as well as our state denomination; and prepare to serve Jesus with more hope and greater expectations.
Almighty and Gracious God, we come into your presence with praise and thanksgiving: thankful that you call us to BE fully yours and charge us with affirming your HOPE to a world that is lost without You.
Grant us open loving hearts, earnest discerning minds, and a renewed desire to encourage all conference members to enlarge their devotion to winning souls for Christ. You alone allow us to BE, you alone give us HOPE; now, commission us as your disciples to BE HOPE to others.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Day 2, Friday, June 3, 2016
Pray for Conference Participants, Bishop, Leaders, Speakers,
Musicians, and the People Who Make this Event Possible
Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst. Matthew 18:20
With the Indiana United Methodist Annual Conference Gathering approaching, far more than 2 or 3 will be gathering for something far more important than conducting the business of the Indiana Annual Conference. We are coming together in His name for worship, praise, and discovery of what God is calling us to be about—both corporately and individually. So it is right and proper that we be in prayer for the people of the Annual Conference: the participants, the leaders, the speakers, the musicians, the Bishop, and all those behind the scenes who make the conference sessions run smoothly and productively.
And we pray for safe travel for all as we gather and as we return to our home communities to live out the call to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
And we pray for open hearts as we gather that we might become aware of God’s presence in our midst, in our hearts. For it is in experiencing God’s presence that we find our inspiration and calling. After all, that is what the Annual Conference is all about!
Our Awesome God, Your presence we seek for the sake of the ministry of Jesus Christ. Your blessings we pray upon the gathering of Indiana United Methodists that your will be done both here and at home. For the sake of the world and the people therein. Amen
Day 3, Saturday, June 4, 2016
Pray for Wisdom to Make Biblical Decisions for the Indiana United Methodists
Give instruction to the wise, and they will become wiser still;
teach the righteous and they will gain in learning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:9-10 NRSV
Wisdom, God’s wisdom, is gleaned from studying the Biblical teachings, praying alone and corporately, and sharing our faith. We make wise decisions for our Indiana United Methodist Church Annual Conference because we believe the Bible is real and relevant to the 21st Century. It is time to reignite the Holy Spirit fire within us and expect revival.
“What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace,” quoted John Wesley.
We must not repeat history by taking the “church” out of society thus triggering the downward spiral of the morals of our nation. Armed with wisdom, step out in faith to improve your neighborhood. The positive ripple effect can only be measured in heaven.
Every time we read the scriptures, deeper, wiser, and more applicable revelations are unveiled through the Holy Spirit. Our hearts leap with excitement. Joy grows stronger to overcome depression, rejection, and sorrow. Peace sails us through a storm, along with wisdom to navigate safety. When we are sick, Jesus is our healer through miracles, signs and wonders, or working through medical experts.
What are your expectations for the Indiana United Methodist Annual Conference? Embrace and celebrate the United Methodist heritage. Become stronger Christians walking in wisdom, love, peace, grace, and harmony. The future is placed in your hands. Choose wisely.
Father God of Wisdom, You created us to be alive at this time in history; to live in Indiana, and become a vital part of the United Methodist Church. We seek wisdom for our leaders, as well as for each member. We ask to receive the mind of Christ in order to think and react to people and situations in Christ-like actions. We praise you for our founding fathers who braved difficult situations, overcame obstacles, to stand firm in their faith to mentor thousands of people which started this great movement. We have different challenging situations around us today; obstacles to overcome, and a stronger faith to develop. Please raise anointed leaders to inspire, encourage, and motivate all ages to be on fire through the Holy Spirit, in love with Jesus, and highly favored by you, O God. We desire your glory. We want to serve you in more creative arenas. Please open doors of opportunities for us to develop our faith to serve you. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for fanning the fire within each of us to increase our wisdom and ability to serve. We adore you and desire your Wisdom. In Jesus’ name we ask this prayer. Amen.
Day 4 Sunday, June 5, 2016
Pray for all participants to be inspired by the Holy Spirit
to receive creative ideas to implement in their home churches.
Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away,
everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” Acts 2:38-39 (NRSV)
The Holy Spirit is your treasured gift when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit is your source of wisdom, love, creativity, and everything you need. Each morning, invite the companionship of the Holy Spirit to BE with you, to guide and connect divine appointments. You will be amazed whom you meet and how you will have a positive effect on this person. Maybe the other person speaks to you from the Holy Spirit to minister to your situation.
John Wesley shared, “My fear is that our people will become content to live without the fire, the power, the excitement, the Supernatural element that makes us great.”
Look carefully at your congregation. You have a wide range of people on varying levels of faith. Ask the Holy Spirit to connect you with creative opportunities at Annual Conference to fan the flame of hope, love, unity, evangelism, leadership, and revival in your church.
Search for a new plan to BE an inspirational part of your community, seeking people who need the love, wisdom, forgiveness, healing, and hope which only comes through Jesus Christ. We are not called to be stagnant, but to “Go Forth.” Pray for this Annual Conference to boost you to stronger levels of faith and commitment, which propels your congregation to greater opportunities of service.
Share the success stories from your congregation to inspire other churches to excellence.
Precious Jesus, my Savior, thank you, for the powerful gift of the Holy Spirit in my life. I will treasure this gift worth more than all the gold in the world. Come Holy Spirit, and fill my heart. Clean out sin which has stopped the flow of Jesus. Holy Spirit, please spark creative ideas to flow freely in my mind for new and innovative ways for my family, my church, and my community to make disciples. During this Annual Conference, please connect me with people whom you will inspire through me, and arrange divine appointments for my inspiration. I ask you to prepare the way so the plans are readily accepted. Thank You, Jesus, for hearing my prayers. Amen.
Day 5, Monday, June 6, 2016
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD,
plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Three points make this verse very appropriate for annual conference.
First, read in the context of Jeremiah’s letter, the “you” is a plural, addressed to the exiles in Babylon. Jeremiah is writing to a community, giving them hope for the future. So, do the promises in Jeremiah 29:11 apply to the United Methodist community in 2016? Pastor John Piper, in an Ask Pastor John series, believes it does. “Everything that God meant to be fulfilled for His people Israel now is going to be fulfilled in His people of the New Covenant. So that not only Jews, but Gentiles, through faith in the messiah, become part of the covenant people of God...”
Second, like many promises in the Bible, this one is contingent on the community doing certain things; we have to do our part. No passive observers allowed. God says, if you call upon me and pray to me, I will hear you. If you seek me with all your heart, then you will find me. And then I will restore your fortunes and bring you back home. In the meantime, while you are waiting, trust God and live your lives by planting gardens, building houses, raising families. And somewhat surprisingly, God says to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” United Methodists are very concerned with the many problems facing their towns and cities and Annual Conference is a time to share what the church is doing to bring hope and help to their communities.
Third, when Jeremiah wrote to the exiles, they felt hopeless, not at all sure what the future held. God spoke through Jeremiah in order to sustain his people in a dark time. Today, many of us feel like exiles in an increasingly hostile and secular world. While we as Christians are supposed to be in the world and not of it, our culture seems intent on pushing us and our values further and further out of the mainstream. This is an uncertain time, and many of us are apprehensive about the future, both immediate and long term. However, Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God is in control, then and now. We are the “you” and this letter assures us that we have hope and a future with God.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for bringing us together again for this week. We are here to praise you, serve you, and seek to discern your will for the United Methodist Church in Indiana. As we gather here, let us feel your presence and reassure us that Y=you are in control. We want your plans to BE our plans, your hopes for our future to BE ours as well. Let our lights so shine that we will bring hope to our communities and they will know how awesome you are…the one true God.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
Day 6, Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5
Hope without Jesus is basically despair. The real world is engulfed with people who lie, steal, break trusts, and inflict painful acts. The Christian’s hope is based on the premise that God and Jesus cannot lie. The Word of God provides the foundation of your faith. The promises in the Bible have stood the test of time. The Romans scripture embraces the progression of hope. Trials reveal your true character. Without Jesus as their core belief, many people do not find purpose or hope in trials. They quit before they are close to overcoming their challenges. With Jesus, you have the hope that something better is in store for you. During this Annual Conference, please refuel your “hope jar” within you.
The antonyms of hope are: disbelief, dislike, distrust, doubt, fear, hate, despair, discouragement, and pessimism. When you experience these feelings, then hope may be squelched. Cleanse your heart and fill your “hope jar” with anticipation, aspiration, belief, concern, confidence, expectation, faith, goals, for the future, optimism, promise, prospect, and wishes.
Please take these days to prepare your mind to be hopeful for your experiences at Annual Conference. Find the good and positive events to bring you more hope. If you encounter a negative experience, then ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the glory of God as He pours His love into you for your purification for excellence. Then your hope will be refueled.
Father God, I come before your throne to bask in your glory. I love you with all of my heart Please fill my “hope jar” to overflowing so I can bring hope to others. Jesus, many people have broken hearts which leak your unconditional love. Jesus, I ask you to massage their broken hearts so their hearts are healed to receive your love. This pure love leads to hope and with hope, all things are possible. Thank you Jesus for hearing my prayer. I love you, and now I have more hope. Amen.
Day 7, Wednesday June 8, 2016
I have said these things to you while I am still with you.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
John 14:25-27 (NRSV)
Allow the Holy Spirit to embrace you, fill you to empowerment, then, serving Jesus becomes more creative and adventurous. Embrace the promises in the Bible since they are fresh and true today. Embrace the forgiving, unconditional love of Jesus for you. Embrace the knowledge that God created you in His image to be alive at this exact time in history. Embrace your God-given talents and gifts as you embrace your purposes on earth. Embrace your family with affectionate hugs so they know your love for them is real. Embrace people whom you are directed to become friends, mentor, or serve. Embrace life to the fullest through the divine appointments of the Holy Spirit.
Susanna Wesley’s quote can be applied to this topic:
“There are two things to do about the Gospel: Believe it and behave it.”
In other words, embrace the Gospel so people see Jesus in you.
Jesus sends you angels to embrace you during difficult times after the death of a loved one, when you receive bad news, or when life is full of challenges you can’t handle. Angels arrive to embrace you with joyful love, wisdom, and celebration.
What is the Holy Spirit calling you to embrace at the Annual Conference and share with others? Embrace the fire of the Holy Spirit to empower you to greatness to serve and honor our Lord.
God, the Creator of the Universe, how glorious is your name. Please embrace me with your forgiving, unconditional love. Help me to feel your secure arms embracing me to keep me close to you. Teach me how to embrace the Living Word of God as I read the Bible and apply the lessons around me. Holy Spirit, please fan the flames of fire to stir within me as I embrace my faith to a new level. Open my eyes to more divine encounters to share my faith as I embrace people who need to experience your love, joy, and peace. Thank you, for all you have done and will continue to do in my life as we embrace each other. Amen.
Day 8, Thursday, June 9, 2016
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
God’s special possession,
that you may declare the praises of him who called you
out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles,
to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong,
they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:9-12 (NIV)
Today's word is "LIVED".
It's not about you. No, it's about God. How we live our lives individually adds up to a whole culture; we do not act in isolation. We live with the view that our lives belong to Jesus and have a purpose. Too many people today lack a purpose and feel their lives have no meaning. In an attempt to fill the void, they turn to drugs, alcohol and mindless entertainment. Christians are called to live exemplary lives and to set an example for the unbelievers, for the glory of God, so they will say, "I want what he or she has."
Peter tells us to proclaim how good God is. Share the Good News! We do this at Annual Conference and then go out into our communities with renewed energy for the next year.
Live the Good News. Be a good example. Don't hide your light, but let it shine in the darkness. Fulfilling our purpose will let others be able to give Glory to God for what they have seen. How we live our lives matters.
Thank you for your example which shows us how to live. Please help us be ever mindful that our lives do have a purpose and we want to glorify you in all we do. Guide and protect us this week and throughout the year. Give us courage and patience and faith that you are in control.
In Jesus' name we pray,
Day 9, Friday, June 10, 2016
Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves.
Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NRSV)
Do you realize that Jesus is mighty in you?
If your faith had diminished before Annual Conference, allow the fire of the Holy Spirit to fan the embers and pour more fuel into your spirit. Realize God created you uniquely wonderful to be alive at this time in history. Realize Jesus will never forsake you. Realize the Holy Spirit will inspire wisdom and creative ideas to flow through you. Realize the angels will protect you along your faith journey. Realize the best is yet to come in your future, no matter whether you are young or mature.
If you are wrestling with doctrine, unanswered prayer, conflict with people, stressful situations, physical problems, or situations which rob you of loving and serving Jesus, then lay each problem on the altar as a sacrifice to the Lord. Realize Jesus took each burden to the cross with Him. Nothing is too difficult for Jesus. Believe that each situation will be solved to glorify the Trinity and realize goodness blossoms out of difficult situations. Expect victory in every situation.
If you arrived at Annual Conference on fire to learn, grow, and serve Jesus with loftier opportunities, expecting open doors of opportunities, and divine appointments, then your experiences will be blessed even greater. Realize who you are with God and run with expectations.
Father God, we ask to come before your throne to show you our adoration and honor. Please send your Glory to the Indiana Convention Center to permeate the building and to the hotels where people are residing. We need your Glory, your presence, to be a welcome part of this conference. Alert people to your presence so we learn to be “Glory Carriers,” people who walk with your Glory to make a difference each day.
Jesus, we ask you to walk through the sessions and meetings. Be a welcome presence, touching people through whispers, divine encounters, open doors of opportunities, visions, dreams, super natural healings, miracles, signs, and wonders.
Come Holy Spirit and catch us on fire to ignite revival to burn throughout Indiana and across our nation.
Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Amen. (2 Corinthians 13:11, 13 NRSV)
Day 10, Saturday, June 11, 2016
Reflection and Application
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NRSV)
The Trinity created each person in their image: the image of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You are a human BEing created with divine authority to live a godly life filled with HOPE. When you EMBRACE this knowledge, then you are able to LIVE your life with purpose, and God’s plan for you is REALIZED.
John Wesley’s quote will be your challenge as a result of attending the 2016 Indiana United Methodist Church Conference:
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life.
Comes into us at midnight very clean.
It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands.
It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.
What did you learn at Annual Conference this year?
- You were inspired with creative ideas to enhance the growth of your congregation.
- You felt the presence of Jesus meeting your current situations.
- You became more committed to serving Jesus Christ.
- Your hope was refueled.
- You embraced the knowledge, gifts, and connections from Annual Conference.
- You are willing to live on fire for your calling in your community.
- You realize the wonderful opportunities ahead of you to impact your community.
What will you do today and tomorrow to serve your Lord and Savior? Make each day count for the Kingdom of God.
Father God, I believe you will never leave me nor forsake me. You brought me to the 2016 Indiana United Methodist Church Annual Conference for several reasons. You provided many divine encounters with people who needed me to encourage them and others to inspire me. Creative ideas, projects, and opportunities were presented. Empower me to share these plans with my congregation so we can be known as a “Beacon of Hope” in our community. Come Holy Spirit to guide my paths, open doors of opportunities, and enable me to pursue these projects to completion. I ask this prayer in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, who lived, died, and rose again for such a time as this. Amen.
Contributing authors are from:
Chapel Hill United Methodist Church
963 North Girls School Road
Indianapolis, IN 46214
Pastor John Thomas
Norma Jean Graves
Pastor Kathy Ottinger
Ruth Esther Vawter