Bishop Sharing Task Force Looks at Episcopal Office and Residence Locations
Now that the North Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church has confirmed that Wisconsin and Northern Illinois will share a bishop, the wor…
Beloved community, in this time of uncertainty and concern, we, the members of the Northern Illinois Conference’s Discipleship Task Force, invite you to join us in daily prayer of support, joy, and encouragement. Our task force will provide daily prayers on the conference’s social media sites starting Wed., March 18 through at least April 30.
We are asking interested NIC pastors, elders, youth pastors, and laity to sign up to provide a written prayer.
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April 30 prayer is from Rev. Darneather Murph-Heath, District Superintendent for Elgin District
1 Kings 3: 5, 9
At Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you."
So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?"
Glorious God of Wisdom and the Whisper,
We, like Solomon ask for your wisdom on this last day of another month of sheltering in place.
Wisdom to lead your people as we worship in new ways.
Wisdom to continue to seek your face, and to heed to your voice.
Wisdom to heed the voices of the doctors, researchers and scientists to whom you have given knowledge to discern the right course during this pandemic. Let them discover a cure.
Wisdom to know right from wrong as we continue to be your beloved community in the midst of uncertainty.
Wisdom to remember those who are on the front lines, giving their best.
Wisdom to care for the lost, the lonely, and the least.
Wisdom to answer the questions of the fearful, and the faithful.
Wisdom to care for others and ourselves by sheltering in place.
God, whisper comfort to your people for they need to hear your calming voice.
Whisper hope to our hearts for we need your steadiness.
Whisper assurance to our lives for we need your strength now and for the days ahead.
Whisper love that will surround us and flow through us.
We offer this prayer in the name of the Resurrected Savior! Amen.
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April 29 prayer is from Michael DeBenedetto, Certified Lay Servant, Antioch UMC, Antioch, IL.
We come to you with a grateful yet heavy heart. We are grateful for the blessings we’ve received through your grace and unconditional love. Our hearts are heavy with the reality of human lives suffering and dying from something so difficult to fathom. We are a scared people. While this dire situation is something none of us have ever experienced, pandemics have plagued the earth before. Just as you have delivered us from our human susceptibilities in the past, this too will be overcome.
We thank you for the science and technology that is necessary to combat this. We are especially thankful for the knowledge and inspiration you’ve instilled in the researchers, infectious disease experts, doctors and nurses, and all hospital and hospice caregivers. It is through their efforts and commitment that we get some hope. You are the God of hope.
The gravity of all that has been lost and all that will be lost is what scares us. Thank you for the hope you give us and hope we get from those who, at risk to themselves, continue to administer care to others; those who call family and friends to check up on them and stay in contact; those who, when seeing a need, find innovating ways to help others; and those continuing to patronize restaurants for delivery or curbside pick-up.
Our religion, race, ethnicity, sexuality preferences, or social status, don’t differentiate us during such a crisis. All your children are affected. Mankind coming together in such a global extent is encouraging. Help us, we pray, that through this unprecedented altruism, we don’t forget that we truly can and must, love our neighbors as ourselves.
We pray for the millions out of work who are having difficulty providing basic necessities for themselves and their families. Forgive us that we sometimes forget that unconditional love does overcome and that our trust in you will see us to the other side of this.
We ask for your continued blessing for all the ministries and ministers that, by whatever technology is available, bring messages of comfort and inspiration to all of us.
By your grace and in the name of the one whom you have sent, we pray, Amen
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April 28 Prayer is from Hannah Hwa-Young Chong, Lead Pastor, Community UMC, Naperville.
Gracious and Loving God,
It’s been over a month since we started observing the shelter-in-place order. We confess to you that it’s been difficult. During this period, some of us have lost our loved ones. Some of us didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye in person or over the phone. Some of our friends and family members have lost their jobs. Some of us feel that our energy is running out.
As hard as it has been, we are also grateful for the many ways that we witness your presence. Thank you for showing up in the hard work of those who are in the frontline: doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers, first responders, grocery workers, and delivery workers. Thank you for showing up in the intimacy and friendship of those dear to us: family, friends, partners, neighbors, and co-workers. Thank you for showing up in our ministry together of faith communities: online worship services, Zoom meetings, phone calls, care cards, and prayer chains. Some have asked us, “Where is your God during this pandemic?” We know you are with us every minute of our days!
Lead us to be part of spreading your love in the midst of uncertainty and fear. Guide us to trust that we are not alone but with you and with one another. Help us to know that we are stronger and more resilient together.
May we be nourished and strengthened by your presence.
May we be enabled by your Spirit to turn our lament into hope.
May we walk with Jesus to wipe the tears of all who grieve.
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
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April 27 prayer is from Marcia Peddicord, Certified Lay Minister, Princeton First UMC.
A Stay Safe Prayer For You
S avior, wrap your arms 'round me. I’m
T ired of standing on my own.
A nd let me lean on your saving grace.
Y ea Lord, don’t leave me alone.
S avior, give me courage now. To
A ccept this new reality.
F orgive my impatience and calm my fears as
E ver close I draw to thee. AMEN.
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April 26 prayer is from Rev. Jacques A. Conway, District Superintendent of Chicago Southern District
To our God, our strength when we are weak. Our compass when we lacked direction. Our healer when we are sick and our Savior when we were separated from God because of our sins. Hear the prayers of your children. Heal the sick, grant mercy to the guilty and restore your children to their rightful place. Our trust is only in You, our God. We love you but we know you love us more. And anything that is not of you, we trust You will make it pass. And no matter the condition, we are victors. In Jesus’ name, I believe and I declare. Amen. Amen.
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April 25 prayer is from Irma Clark, Certified Lay Servant, Chicago: Hartzell UMC.
Gracious and Loving God, when we are burden with the stress of this world help us to realize that you are the great comforter, help us to be humble servants for your kingdom always trusting in you. We pray for all who suffer from deadly diseases, be with us as we pass through the valley of deepest darkness. Enable us to lean on you and find rest, we give you thanks for the blessings you provide for us, and we pray for those who are facing difficult times. Help us to stay faithful to you, in your precious name we pray. AMEN
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April 24 prayer is from Elizabeth Gracie, Lay Co-Chair of Annual Conference Shepherding Team, Oak Park: First UMC.
On reading the Daily Lectionary - 1 Peter 4:1-2 (The Message)
Hear a just cause, O Lord!
We are fearful for both our lives and our livelihoods. We are frustrated, even desperate, as we stay at home, forced to choose between them and unable to fully pursue either. We crave a return to “normal.”
O Lord, speed all that is necessary for us to contain and control the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic so that we might begin to resume our lives and restore our economy. But, Lord, do not allow us to lapse into our old ways.
This healthcare and economic crisis has laid bare the sins of our prior “normal.” We must confess that we have engaged in, rationalized, accepted and/or ignored:
Systemic racism and discrimination on other bases;
Inadequacies and inequities in healthcare and education;
Mass incarceration and cruel and unusual treatment in jails, prisons and immigrant detention centers;
Emission of carbon from our cars and other behaviors that are destroying your creation;
Mental illness, domestic abuse, food insecurity, homelessness . . .
Lord, forgive us. Help us to repent. Use this crisis as a crucible to melt away our impurities and refine in us love, compassion, self-sacrifice, community spirit. Create a new “normal” in which we seek first to bring about your kingdom on earth.
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April 23 Prayer is from Ellen Feliciano, Chicago Northwestern Co-Lay Leader, Urban Village Church
Lamentations 3: 22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Creator God, who formed this world and everything in it out of the void, we are reminded of your might work as the earth bursts into bloom around us. In this time of fear and uncertainty, we ask that you be with us. The world seems to have been upended overnight. Many are living in isolation, struggling with loss of income and without the structure of the too-busy lives that we have lived. Others are going into the heart of the pandemic every day, offering their gifts to serve others. In this time, it would be easy to let fear and doubt overtake us. Surround us with your spirit. Help us, each in our own way, to care for all your children. Help us to rejoice in the glory of your creation and be reminded, once again, that your steadfast love for all that you have created never ceases and that your mercies are new every morning. We pray this in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen
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April 22 prayer is from Joy Thorbjornsen-Coates, Certified Lay Servant from Berry Memorial UMC in Chicago.
Creator God, designer of our earth,
We give you thanks this day for the home you have given us. We give you praise for the beauty and strength that you have placed here. We honor you for the myriad of resources that you have placed before us.
We confess to you that we have not held the gift as we should, that we have not been good stewards of your gift. We confess we have too often ignored the beauty and the moments of awe. We repent of our wasteful ways and our disregard for your creation and our neighbors.
We ask that on this Earth Day and every day, we be mindful that our earth is a home created by you for all of your children. We ask that you renew within us the care and responsibility we should carry close to our hearts. We commit our actions to your glory and to the sustaining of a healthy and thriving earth for the generations of your children yet to come.
Be with us as we work and may your answers be better than our asking.
In the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, AMEN.
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April 13 prayer is from Rev. Dr. Jin Yang Kim, Global Missionary, General Board of Global Ministries, UMC
Northern IL Conference:
“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt 6:33, NRSV)
God of life,
In the midst of trials,
we have failed to live in unity with each other and with you;
making selfish wishes and false values.
Fill us with the beauty of your creation
in Christ and all gifts of healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration.
God of peace,
In the midst of uncertain times,
we have often denied your lordship;
trusting in our own knowledge and power.
Instill within us your peace when we are filled
with worries, anxieties, fear, prejudice, misunderstandings, and fear.
God of justice,
In the dark despair and all deep distress,
we have failed in our calling to be your holy people;
setting up barriers that separate people into racial or other ethnic groups,
barriers that divide rich from poor
barriers that split men and women, young and old.
Make us strangers no longer, but pilgrims together on the way to your kingdom,
and strengthen us together in mission to your world,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Hallelujah!
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Easter Sunday, April 12, prayer is from Rev. Dr. Brian Gilbert, District Superintendent
We pray for those who are sheltering alone, those who feel isolated. Send Your Spirit to comfort them in this, their time of need. May Your Spirit guide and encourage us to intentionally reach out and keep in contact with another while we practice social distancing. So, through our phone calls and communications, people may be reminded that we are not alone. That, not only are we surrounded by Your Presence and a great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us, but we are also connected to one another by your Holy Spirit. Bless us God, with a deeper and greater sense of community, so that we may serve one another and love one another as you taught us through your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
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April 11 prayer is from Rev. David Rogula, pastor at Esmond UMC DeKalb District
My prayer for us all not just during 'Shelter-in-Place' but Always!!
My prayer for us all not just during 'Shelter-in-Place' but Always!!
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
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April 10, Good Friday Prayer is from Mark Manzi co-leader of Board of Laity, St Andrew’s in Carol Stream, Aurora District
We cry out Why?
You say I am here.
We cry out Why?
You say I am with you.
We cry out Why?
You say together we will find the way.
In this challenging time, let us listen for God’s call.
Let us listen to each other.
Together with your guiding spirit, oh God, we will
Come through this time changed and ready to strengthen your Kindom.
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April 9 prayer is from Rev. Hannah Kardon, teaching pastor at Chicago: Urban Village.
God of grace, power, and might,
Long ago, when you knew what was coming, you commanded us to wash one another's feet that we might all know how deeply we are loved, and how the truest form of power rests in service. Today, help us to wash our hands with that same love and conviction. Help us to know that in every thing - in every hurt, every pain, and every joy too - we can find you, and find the hands that have cared for us so faithfully at every turn. Help us to offer ourselves and others that same care.
In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
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April 8 prayer is from Diane Parrish, Certified Lay Servant at Kirkland UMC.
We admit that in moments, we are overwhelmed by the situation in the world. We feel helpless in the face of the needs of those suffering. There are so many losses. We feel acutely the shortages that face us. We are lonely with the isolation. We are uncertain about how we will cope with the changes in our lives. Many of us find almost every aspect of our life reformed into something unfamiliar. We find simple things bring us to tears and grief. This storm, both inside and outside of us, is swallowing us in its deluge. Yet we are assured that you will never leave us. We know that you hear our cries. We are thankful for your presence in this time of crisis. We need your power to calm this storm. We need your peace for coping with this turbulent time of uncertainty. We need your hope through the ability to see you at work in the midst of this storm. Give us your strength to reach each out to others in love to lighten the darkness around us.
We thank you for your peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen
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April 7 prayer is from Elisa Gatz, NIC Co-Lay Leader and member of Wesley UMC in Sterling:
Faithful and loving Creator, we are living through a time like no other that we have ever experienced. We feel so helpless as we see the numbers rise of those infected and deaths from COVID-19. We shelter in place and follow guidelines, but it seems like so little in the face of this global pandemic.
Calm our souls God. Help us to take a breath. We know we are your hands, feet, hugs, and help in times of need. When we take care of ourselves, we, in turn, are taking care of others. May we use this time to find new ways of being in service and connecting with others. In your name, we pray. Amen #dailyprayer #weareinthistogether
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April 6 prayer is from Rita L. Smith, member at Resurrection UMC in Chicago, Lay delegate to Jurisdictional Conference and United Methodist Women North Central Jurisdiction President:
Magnificent One. I come to you thanking you for all you have done, what you are doing now, and what is yet to come.
You are the ultimate healer, sustainer and miracle worker.
As we navigate this Holy Week on our Lenten journey, we need and seek your guidance as counselor, granting wisdom to our leaders. We ask to continue to gift the health care workers, grocery store workers and truck drivers, as we experience this new normal. The first teachers to the children and the educators through social distancing. Gift us to minister to the marginalized, as we are deployed from the church building. We ask for your favor and compassion for the named and unnamed.
We have come through many times when we felt helpless, disappointed, grief-stricken, lost, lonely, fearful and unloved. Becoming homeless, addicted, abused, financially stressed, are among the many hardships, that become our everyday disruptions. Yet, through these trials and tribulations called, "storms of life" we made it through. Yes, we have a testimony. You have brought light into the darkness because you are the God of love, peace and justice.
We ask for your continued grace and mercy as we continue faithfully on our journey of life as Resurrection people.
In Jesus name,
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April 5 prayer for Palm Sunday is from Rev. Arlene Christopherson, NIC Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries:
Lord God of our Lenten journey, you call us to be your disciples and promise to walk alongside us. Today we hear the echos of Hosanna ringing down through the ages as we join with the ancient crowds in proclaiming our adoration. We close our eyes and see the gatherings of previous Palm Sundays; children waving their branches, choirs singing magnificent cantatas, banners adorned with symbols of celebration. In the still and quiet of our stay-at-home world, as we envision past celebrations, we pray for the healing of our present world, in confidence that we are still part of the Palm Sunday parade. We still raise our voices in Hosanna as our faith sustains us and our discipleship strengthens through a season of wilderness travel. Grant us courage as we journey through this Holy Week knowing that you are ever present. Hosanna, loud hosanna. Amen.
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April 4 Prayer is from Pastor Jackie Wills from Herbert: Davis UMC and Kingston UMC.
Creator God, it is to you we lift our spirits in this time of fear and uncertainty. We pray, Holy One, that you continue to create and recreate within each of us strength for the day, courage for the week ahead, and compassion for neighbor. Create within us the wisdom to know when we should act and when we should not. Rekindle our yearning to find safe ways to support first responders and medical persons who are sacrificing so much for us right now. Create anew a desire within us to be relentless in our efforts to connect with others. Banish our doubts and replace them with refortified faith. Remind us, O God, to spend time in prayer each day, praying for those who are sick, dying, lonely, frightened. Help us to be the disciples you have called us to be in this place we find ourselves in. Give us to have faith the size of a mustard seed that others will see and believe that one day soon this pandemic will pass. May all that we do now bring honor and glory to you forever and ever. Amen.
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April 3 prayer is from Rev. Katie Voigt, pastor at Erie UMC. She is also the Chair of Daily Proceedings and Vice-Chair of the Annual Conference Committee:
But you need to remain well established and rooted in faith and not shift away from the hope given in the good news that you heard. This message has been preached throughout all creation under heaven. And I, Paul, became a servant of this good news. -Colossians 1:23 CEB
Holy God who is steadfast and assured, we ask you to be with us in a time of unknowns and variations. We are settling into new routines, we are hoping for a return to the ways of life that we know, but every day the information changes and we just wait. You, however, have given us good news. We know that you walk with us through all things, that promise to never abandon us, and you call us to remain “well established and rooted in faith” especially during difficult times. You give us hope on bad days, you give us joy even in the midst of our fear, and you give us community – even if they are farther apart right now – in which to share our lives. Help us to not shift from the hope we have in your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.
April 2 prayer is from Rev. Martin Lee, NIC Dir. of Congregational Development and Redevelopment:
God of Grace,
Aid our discernment.
We wish to see your will for us clearly in a world filled with the fog of fear and confusion.
Show us your way.
Show leaders who stand out to help us see how we should worship, how we should care for our most at risk friends, how we should maintain and even build community as your body the Church. We want to see your way to remaining healthy-body, mind and soul.
Most of all, we want to hear your voice, your word for us. Even separated in our own homes, this world generates so much noise and distraction. We are seeking to isolate your voice within the din.
Remind us who we are.
Tell us who can be.
Show leaders who stand out to help us see how we should worship, how we should care for our most at-risk friends, how we should maintain and even build community as your body the Church. We want to see your way to remaining healthy-body, mind, and soul.
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April 1 prayer is from former Illinois State Representative Bob Pritchard and laity from Hinckley UMC:
Heavenly Father, on this April Fools’ Day, forgive us for our foolish actions; for not trusting that you care for each of us and forgetting your promise to provide for our needs as you do the birds and flowers. Thank you for the spring flowers pushing through the cold soil to remind us of your love, the beauty of your creation and the resurrection of your son. We ask for your blessing on all those caring for the ill and elderly, wisdom for those developing policies that affect our God-given freedoms, and courage to share your love and good news of salvation. In the name above all names –Jesus our Lord—we pray. Amen
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March 31 prayer is from nursing instructor Sally Fitzgerald Mydill, laity at Prince of Peace UMC in Elk Grove Village.
Dear God, we reel at the illness and death that is spreading, the loss of jobs and disruption of all the routines of life. As we despair at the news that each day brings let us also marvel at and give thanks for the people of many faiths who are living out the command to love your neighbor as yourself. First responders, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers risk their own health to save the life of a neighbor, frontline food service and grocery personnel stay out while others shelter so that neighbors can be fed, and others stay in essential jobs, taking risks for their neighbors. Lord, we pray that people who follow your call by loving and serving their neighbor are themselves protected from harm. Help us all find a way to be a neighbor to the very vulnerable in this crisis. As we separate from the crowds and the rush hour commute, let us notice our surroundings, the sunshine as well as the shadow, and let us be still and know that you are God.
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March 30 prayer is from Rev. Seamus Enright, pastor of Reynolds UMC:
God of Infinite Mystery and unfathomable Love,
We cry out to you in the midst of uncertainty.
In the midst of grief, and change, and loss,
In this time of anxiety and struggle,
Breathe into us.
Restore our strength, grant us courage, calm our hearts and minds with the peace that surpasses all understanding.
That we may reflect your grace, embody your presence,
Declare your salvation, and prove your love
In everything that we do and say in these days.
To the glory of your name and the comfort of your creation, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
March 29 prayer is from Rev. Brittany Isaac Chicago Northwestern District Superintendent
Be still and know…Ps 46:10a
There are times that you speak to us out of a
Other times you speak to us in sound of shear
As the whirlwind of activity in the world has
as the days of staying in place
we come to you with hearts that are still
In this time, we feel even more acutely
that has always hummed in the background but is now
Take our restless hearts and fill them with
so that when this is all over, we will emerge
We pray in the name of the
Who offers us
That surpasses all
March 27 prayer is from Joann Roth-Crackenberger, Lay Leader at First UMC Freeport:
Lord, even though we cannot grasp all that is going on in the world now, we know that you give us patience and peace. Help us to persevere and remember you are the true Light in the world and will sustain us. Help us look beyond the walls of our church buildings and to respond to the needs of others. Amen
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March 26 prayer is from Rev. Satya Sudhakar, pastor at Ashton UMC and Franklin Grove UMC in the DeKalb District.
Almighty All powerful and Omnipotent God we praise your name for who You are.
Your grace is sufficient to carry us through the challenges of life.
You are our shepherd we follow your voice for guidance
You are our refuge we seek strength and help in trouble
You are our God help us to be still to trust in you and know that You are in control.
Merciful Lord continue to have mercy on us your creation and come to rescue us, heal us, deliver us and restore us to the joy of new life.
I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazareth. Amen
March 25 prayer is from Rev. Luis Reyes, pastor at First UMC in Lombard.
Gracious and loving God, we give you thanks for your “mercies are new every morning.” Help us to remember that you are a Covenant God, constantly present, journeying along with us. Help today even more to embrace the words of the psalmist: “make me lie down in green pastures, who lead me beside still waters, who restores my soul…”
God, so we ask for your grace and strength so that we can witness that as we walk throughout these difficult days, we do it without fear. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
March 24 prayer is from Rev. Jeffry Bross, Aurora District Superintendent.
Speak to us God for we are praying...we are praying for your comfort in our time of distress.
Speak to us God for we are listening...we are listening for your direction to be the church in our time of crisis.
Hear us God for we are speaking...we are speaking of your glory even when things seem most dire.
See us God for we are seeing...seeing your work in the lives of your disciples as they bring comfort and love to a world in need.
Touch us God for we are feeling...we are feeling the care of those we know and those we do not know who are sacrificing for others.
In all that we do, in all that we are let it be that we see, touch, feel, hear, see and love you completely even when things seem difficult, lonely or even lost. We have faith that you are a great God who loves and we are not forsaken.
2 Corinthians 4
Treasure in Jars of Clay
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
March 23 Prayer is written by Patricia Arne, laity, Steward UMC, and Steward's UMW president.
O Holy God of Hope, who reminds us in scripture that You are the God of ALL HOPE – help us to trust in You with all that we are experiencing now. To trust You to such an extent that our fears are solidly relieved and we can turn our hearts to You and be at peace and full of hope. Help us to so experience Your presence in the Holy Spirit, that we are renewed in love for You, for others, for ourselves. Thank You that you are such a God! We love You! In the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Romans 15:13 May the God of all hope fill you with all peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. NIV
March 22 Prayer is from Deacon Sharon Rice from Belvidere UMC
Today's (March 22) prayer is from Deacon Sharon Rice of Belvidere First UMC.
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." --Philippians 4:4-7
Holy and loving God, we are living in anxious times.
We wake up uncertain of what the news will say. We are on edge when a press briefing is announced. We are fearful about health and finances. We look out the window and wonder, "when will life go back to 'normal'?" We struggle with trying to find anything to "rejoice".
And yet, is this not Sunday?
The Day of Resurrection has come around again--rejoice! We are a Resurrection People--rejoice! We serve and follow a Resurrected Savior--rejoice!
And even when our Sundays are disrupted from "normal", the Lord has not gone away! The Lord is and remains near! The Lord is in our homes, in our workplaces, at our kitchen tables, by our computers, on radio and podcast airwaves, across phone lines, on paper in letters mailed to one's homes, in our care facilities and all points in between, including church buildings...the Lord is there.
For after every solemn Thursday, after every gloomy Friday, after every impatient Saturday, comes a joyous Sunday.
And even when our Sundays are disrupted from "normal", the Lord has not gone away! The Lord is and remains near! The Lord is in our homes, in our workplaces, at our kitchen tables, by our computers, on radio and podcast airwaves, across phone lines, on paper in letters mailed to ones homes, in our care facilities and all points in between, including church buildings...the Lord is there.
Emmanuel, God is with us.
So in these anxious times, let us turn our hearts, minds, and faces to the Lord. Let us lift our voices in praise and prayer for God's holy presence! The Lord is near and asks that we give ourselves to God, give all supplications including the burdens that weigh our hearts and spirits down. Give them to God, for God can bear their weight. Give them to the Lord and take the offering of Peace through the love and grace of Jesus Christ...and share that gift with everyone we speak to.
Today is the Day of Resurrection--rejoice! This present tomb we find ourselves in will not and cannot hold us; we will rise with our Lord and proclaim the Gospel--REJOICE!
Rejoice, and be at peace. For the Lord is near.
March 21 Prayer is from Rev P Devon Brown, Senior Pastor at St. Mark’s UMC in Chicago
O Lord, In the name of, and by your grace through Jesus, we humbly approach your throne of mercy. We do so in adoration of who you are. You are more beautiful than anything our eyes have seen. You are more powerful than any source of energy we know. You are more loving than the most caring parent. You are a mighty God.
Hear our prayers, now Lord, during this moment of confession, for we have failed to be obedient. Though we’ve made an effort to do your will, our self-interest has often misguided our decision making. Our desire for personal comfort has often contributed to the discomfort of others. Our worship of institutions has often resembled a form of idolatry. Even the works we do have at times been motivated by our need to feel good about ourselves, rather than by your call for us to do good for others.
Despite our shortcomings, we possess great thankfulness for all you’ve done in our lives. We thank you for creating this vast universe and giving us an opportunity to exist in it. We glorify you for the earth’s atmosphere that protects us, and for the natural resources that sustain us. We magnify your name for the honor of serving as stewards in your creation. If you never again do anything for us, you’ve already done enough.
Please now God, hear and respond to the content of our supplications. We, your creation – made in your image – by your words, are crying out for help. The planet you entrusted to our care, is again raising its hand against us through the spread of another harmful disease. Though our abuse of its flesh gives earth ample reason to be angry, we repent of our sin and ask you to again serve as a mediator between your planet and your people. Bring to an end the pandemic. Heal those who have been impacted by it. Just as you did through the cross and the empty tomb, remind us of your power to manipulate nature and forgive trespasses. We will respond to your mercy by caring for your planet, and by utilizing the earth’s resources for the benefit of everyone within its atmosphere. In the matchless name of Jesus, we pray. Amen
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. ( 2 Chronicles 7:14)
March 20 Prayer is from Bishop Sally Dyck
Almighty and everlasting God,
We pray for all of your children across the world who are impacted by the coronavirus this day.
But right now, we pray for those who are going through the challenges, suffering and also joys that life “normally” gives us:
We pray for those...
Who were scheduled for surgery but have had it postponed, increasing pain and anxiety. Be with those in pain.
Who were anticipating graduation from all kinds of educational institutions but now know those celebrations are postponed or cancelled. Lift up discouraged spirits!
Who are in accidents or develop other illnesses or find themselves in need of medical care aside from the coronavirus. Tend the sick.
Who are expecting babies in the near future but are anxious about their own health. Bless and increase their joy.
Whose loved ones have died and now funerals and memorial services are postponed or in question. Give comfort and strength, especially for those who were unable to be with them as they died.
Who've had to postpone or cancel other joyful events like major birthday parties (like 90 or 100 years old) or anniversaries but now cake seems to have lost its sweetness. Help all to continue to give thanks for life and health.
For those of us who plan our lives to the minute of our waking hours and now find ourselves unable to make plans for the foreseeable future. Teach us to live in the moment!
For those who are living in the midst of recent natural disasters, such as Tennessee and Utah. Give them a double measure of strength!
We can’t begin to imagine all the ways people struggle and want to enjoy life so we add our own prayer for “ordinary” life in “extraordinary” times...
Lord have mercy and lift up our spirits that we may continue to give thanks to you for all your many gifts.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
March 19 Prayer is from Caleb Hong, co-chair of the NIC Discipleship Task Force and Senior Pastor at Faith UMC in Orland Park.
"I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." - Psalm 40:1-3
Lord, help us to wait on You - to put our trust in You.
As You have been faithful in the past, we trust in your faithfulness this day.
In the midst of our celebrations and challenges,
in the midst of our hopes and fears,
help us to heed your call to love God and love our neighbors,
to feed the hungry, care for the sick, and welcome the strangers.
In the midst of uncertain and challenging times, we place our lives, our neighbors, our world into your sure and certain hands.
We pray all this in Jesus' name, amen.
March 18 prayer is submitted by Lay Member Karen Bonnell, co-chair of the NIC Discipleship Task Force, and member of Steward UMC (Steward, Ill.).
I would like to offer this prayer of encouragement. Let us pray.
O Living God,
Who my soul longs for,
Who my soul thirsts for especially in these unpredictable times,
How I long to go to church and worship you with our congregation.
But even the highest heaven cannot contain you.
You have promised to never leave us or forsake us. We thank you for your steadfast love.
We pray for safety and good health, healing for the sick,
And peace for all.
Give wisdom to our leaders and knowledge to medical researchers.
Give us kind hearts and move us to help those in need.
We pray in Jesus’ name.
Watch for future prayers submitted to appear on NIC’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram sites.
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