The Florida Annual Conference’s week of leading “Praying Our Way Forward” is Sunday, February 26, through Saturday, March 4. Resources to assist churches participating next week include a prayer by Bishop Carter and a litany for Ash Wednesday, as well as an introductory video.
A Prayer by Bishop Ken Carter
O God, whose nature and name is love:
We pray for the light that shines in the darkness, the radiant light that we see in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Give us the faith to grow into his likeness, and give us the confidence to follow him.
We pray for the faithfulness of the church—that we would walk in your ways, trusting in your providence, listening for your voice.
We pray for the fruitfulness of the church—that we would make new disciples of Jesus Christ, in new places and in new ways, for the transformation of the world.
And we pray for the unity of the church—that we would live with a heart of peace and insofar as it depends on us, that we would seek to live in peace with all people.
May the work that is done by the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to you. And may we, the people of the United Methodist Church, more fully offer to the world the grace that we have received, the grace that has brought us safe thus far, and the grace that will lead us home.
In the name of Jesus, our teacher and healer and for the sake of his body, the church. Amen.
Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr.
Florida Area, The United Methodist Church
Moderator Team, Commission on a Way Forward
President-Designate, Council of Bishops
Litany for A Way Forward (Ash Wednesday 2017)
The journey through Lent is from death to life.
We seek a way forward in you, O God.
It is a journey from brokenness to healing.
We seek a way forward in your grace.
Lent leads us to truth in the depths of our souls.
We seek a way forward that is courageously transforming.
It is the road from division in the Body to unity in the Spirit.
We seek a way forward together, O God.
This is a season of honesty and empathy.
We hold these two things in your Spirit, O God.
These days call for wisdom and creativity.
Your future, O God, is our way forward.
We can achieve little on our own, but in your Power all things are possible.
We seek a way forward through the promise of Jesus.
God, this Lent, we give ourselves once more to you and to one another. In humility we confess our sins, failures and shortcomings. We relinquish all in ourselves that undermines your work in this world. We lean upon your healing, renewal, redemption, and mercy. We trust in your work that we may or may not see, knowing that deep in the soil of life, the seeds of your Kingdom are growing. Amen.
Click here to view and/or download the video.
During 2016 General Conference, The United Methodist Church hit a crisis point that made it clear to everyone watching and participating that we needed to seek God’s wisdom for our future, especially around the human sexuality issue. A request was made of the Council of Bishops to lead our church forward during this time of great crisis and great opportunity. Since then, A Way Forward Commission has been formed consisting of 32 people from the global United Methodist Church with the sincere hope to bring unity on human sexuality and other matters.
Beginning the first week of January 2017, annual and central conferences across the world have been invited to pray for a week for A Way Forward. This 75-week season of prayer is called Praying Our Way Forward and has a two-fold focus: We are praying that God will help us fulfill the mission of the church, “To Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World,” and we are praying to be One in Christ.
The Florida Conference will be praying the week that includes the beginning of the Lenten Season with Ash Wednesday. There are several ways churches and church members can participate:
- Create a special prayer emphasis locally using the meditations and suggestions for prayer on umcprays.org;
- Consider a church-wide fast one day of the week, encouraging each other in this spiritual discipline;
- Show our “Praying Our Way Forward” Florida video in worship or other venues;
- Like and comment on our Florida Conference Prays For A Way Forward Facebook page on what God is doing in your life through prayer, or
- Include in your Ash Wednesday worship experience the Prayer Litany above.