Praying Our Way Forward: Seeking God’s Face in Uncharted Territory
By: Sherri Gragg
The Texas Annual Conference will devote the week of February 25- March 3 to “Pray Our Way Forward.”
Phase two of the “Praying Our Way Forward” initiative began January 1, 2017. During this season of seeking God’s leading for the future of the United Methodist Church, each annual conference will spend a week of focused prayer in preparation for the Special Session of General Conference, February 24-26, 2019.
Recently, we had the privilege of speaking with District Superintendent of the Central North District and Cabinet Dean Rev. Kip Gilts about “Praying Our Way Forward.”
Q: Rev. Gilts, what is the purpose of “Praying Our Way Forward?”
A: The purpose of “Praying Our Way Forward” is to seek God’s face and guidance through uncharted territory. When the Council of Bishops meet, they will undertake decisions that will have a huge impact on the UMC. “Praying Our Way Forward” is a way for us to align our hearts with God’s heart rather than dictate to God, or each other, how this should play out. We want to move in the Spirit of Christ as it is described for us in Colossians chapter three- with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Q: Each Conference has been assigned one week to spend in focused prayer during this phase of “Praying Our Way Forward.” What will that look like in the TAC?
A: We will have a video devotion available each day to emphasize the importance of seeking God’s face. Seven different people in the Conference will be sharing during these devotions. We will hear from Bishop Jones, and two members of our Conference who are serving on the Commission for the Way Forward, Leah Taylor, and Rev. Jessica LaGrone, will share with us as well. Some of those who share during this week will be clergy, others are laity.
We have also enlisted The Prayer Institute of Windsor Village UMC. The team has authored a prayer that we will seek to have in the bulletin of every church in the conference on the same day. Members will be encouraged to pray this prayer every day during our week of prayer.
Q: What is our objective during this time?
A: It is wonderful timing for our Conference, because our week falls at the beginning of Lent. During this time, we want to align ourselves with God’s desire for our lives and church. We hope there will be a revival of hearts, and a returning to purpose for those of us who are easily distracted from our mission. From there, we hope that same spirit will multiply throughout the Conference.
We are also seeking God’s guidance in an area where we really have not figured it out yet. We are much like 2 Chronicles 7:14. We are seeking God’s face, trying to turn from our own sinful ways, and humbling ourselves before God. We need a movement of the Holy Spirt to provide a way forward for us that we have not yet seen.