A Prayer for General Conference
April 11, 2012
Eternal God, you have created in history your own people who know your salvation accomplished in the life, death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ and acualized by the power of your Holy Spirit. We pray that we the people of the United Methodist Church may so believe and live that, despite our personal and collective sin, you will recognize in us your true church. Especially we pray for the delegates and bishops of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church meeting in Tampa, Florida on April 24-May 4, 2012.
Make us aware that we gather, not as a denominational organization, nor as a religious community of our culture, but as members of your church, which is the people of God, the body of Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit.
Strengthen us in unity with one another by the bond of your Spirit so that we may see in one another a common faith in Jesus Christ our Lord rather than look at each other as opponents.
Spare us from a false attempt to show unity by stifling our inner call to be witnesses to the truth by increasing our assurance that the whole body is more able to discern the truth when its members are free to testify to the truth according to their ability.
Enable us to grasp the unique opportunity of this gathering to focus the whole life of our Church on the mission you have given to us to understand according to our heritage as spiritual descendants of Susanna, John and Charles Wesley, which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ to transform the world.
Give us good sense for organizing the institutional forms of the Church, but help us to never forget that the essence of the Church is not an organization ,and its heart and life cannot be renewed by organizational techniques.
Make us mindful of our need to be good stewards of the resources we have received and to use them prudently so that we may maximize the opportunities we have to advance the cause of Christ through our Church around the world.
Deliver us from predictable and tired debates that will inflame passions but bring no new light of understanding, and that will surely distract us from the central mission of the Church.
Help us to invest in the places in the world where the people are excited about the Gospel of Christ and willing to sacrfice for the true work of the Church.
Guide us into a sanctified life by first of all delivering us from the false sense of our own sanctity because of our conviction of our own right ideas and righteous values, and then by discovering true humility through our justification by grace through faith in Jesus Christ who died for us while we were still sinners.
Show us how to do good work without becoming do-gooders.
Inspire us to use reason for the cause of Christ without damaging the cause of Christ by the use of our reason.
Liberate us from the need to talk too much and to pretend that talking is a substitute for doing your holy will.
Lord of the Church and the world, we acknowledge this conference is nothing more than another meeting unless we are enlightened by your Spirit in hearing your Word in the Holy Scriptures, united with you through the holy sacraments, and willing to be servants who sacrifice for your cause in the world. We offer this meeting to you and ask that you use it strengthen your cause of making your name and will known in the world through this great and vulnerable, holy and sinful Church. Amen.