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Prayer Network

Nic Prayer Network

The Discipleship Task Force is launching this new webpage to provide an opportunity to join together in common prayer.

This webpage will host a weekly prayer calendar with a Bible verse and devotion by a NIC pastor along with some holy humor and other resources. It will encourage us to pray for a NIC church, pastor, events of the week, and more.

We encourage groups to gather for a short time of prayer starting with our NIC Prayer Network page, but individuals can join in privately from their computer.

~The Discipleship Task Force invites laity or clergy who enjoy writing to submit a devotion (250 words), including a Bible verse and prayer.  Share what is on your heart with the NIC by emailing  discipleshiptf@umcnic.org.

A big thank you to joyfulnoisletter.com for giving us permission to use their material. You may visit the site and also sign up for a subscription.

Prayers

Devotion for Nov. 30 - Dec. 6
by Pastor Caleb Hong, Orland Park: Faith
HUMBLE

"The gospel comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable."

Reading the Bible, especially The Gospel of Luke, is humbling.  In the words of the writer, Finley Peter Dunne, who observed that newspapers "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable," the same could be said for the gospel.  Throughout his teachings, Jesus comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable.  Moreover, he reminded us all to be humble.  

In Luke chapter 18, Jesus tells a parable about two individuals, who went to the Temple and prayed.  This was the extent of the similarities.  One person (a Pharisee) prayed while boasting and looking down on others.  

"God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income." (v11-12)

The other person (a tax collector) prayed with a very different attitude.  The tax collector refused to look up to heaven.  With a heavy heart, this person prayed, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!"  (v13)

In such clear and simple terms, Jesus teaches us the appropriate attitude for prayer.  Jesus reminds us that if we pray with the mindset of the Pharisees, we might as well not even pray.  There are no grounds for our boasting.  There is no reason for spiritual snobbery..  

"for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted." (v14)

As we enter this new day, let's cling to the cross.  Let's cherish God's love.  Let's treasure the gift of each day because it's God's grace (not our goodness) that saves us.  It's Christ's love (not our self-righteousness) that leads us in the way of eternal life.  

Thanks be to God.  

Prayer Focus:

Churches:

Mendota: Zion

Morrison

Norway

Oregon

Ottawa: Epworth

Ottawa: Evangelical

Ottawa: First

Pastors:

Neal F Fisher

David K Fison

Kazimierz Flut

Mary L Flatness

Susan Lousie Flinn-Portee

Jacqueline P Ford

Monty W Fox

NIC Leaders:

Ralph Jones Sr, UMM President of Chicago Southern District

NIC Advance:

Wesley Woods Conference Center

***

Devotion for Oct. 26- Nov. 1

By Karen Bonnell, Steward UMC, DeKalb District

Methodists Sing of a Smiling Jesus

Methodists Sing Of A Smiling Jesus

Luke 5:1-11  “…’Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’  Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing.  Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’  When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break…Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’  When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.”

Discipleship is about following Jesus.  And where Jesus is, there is joy.  Can’t you see the twinkle in Jesus’ eyes when he tells Simon to let down the nets?

I was reading my new copy of The Joyful Noiseletter when this title caught my eye: “Methodists sing of a Smiling Jesus.”  Many Methodists submit to the publication so I was curious what this one had to say.  But let me backtrack.  As a long time subscriber, I had emailed the publication, asking for permission to print their material here on the NIC Prayer Network.  When Cal Samra himself (he’s founder and editor) answered, I replied with appreciation both for the use of his material and for his sharing his own story.  Then I shared the hymn “Tú Has Venido a la Orilla” (“Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore” on page 344 UMH) as it was meaningful to me and has brought me to tender tears at least once because, well, sometimes people need to hear that Jesus smiles at them and calls their names. 

Jesus is calling your name. And he is smiling.

And you may read the article “Methodist sing of a Smiling Jesus” for yourself, but probably you won’t be as dumbfounded as I! 😊

Thank you, Jesus, for smiling and calling our names.  Thank you for loving us and taking us as we are.  We offer ourselves to you for your work in the world.  Amen

Prayer Focus:

Churches:
Esmond

Fenton

Franklin Grove

Genoa: Faith

Harding

Harmon

Herbert:Davis

Pastors:
Gregory J Eaton

Edward (Eddie) Eddy

Jane Eesley

David Alan Eichelberger

Linda Lou Bacon Eller

Charles Emery

Sharon Engert

NIC Leaders:
Jane Cheema, Disaster Response Coordinator for Chicago Northwestern District

NIC Advance:
Sammool House

* * * 

Devotion for October 18-25

You Are Here

Holy Humor

By Lynne Heacock, Dixon First UMC, DeKalb District 

LOOKING TO JESUS                                                                                                                                                                

      Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

     “Yes, come,” Jesus said.

     So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Matthew 14:28-30

     Peter’s faith changed as he walked on the Sea of Galilee. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus he was strong and confident, but as soon as he looked away from Jesus and saw the raging sea, his humanity took over. He thought “I can’t walk on this water!” and his faith weakened.

       Just like most of us, there had been times when I’ve felt overwhelmed and the days ahead looked pretty dark. I felt weak and didn’t know how I was going to face the future. I was determined to keep my eyes on Jesus, knowing that He would carry me through this fire. I told Him that I couldn’t do this anymore…that I needed His help! Right then and there, I gave my burdens and my heart-break over to Him. Jesus reached out and held me close, I felt so much better. Somehow, I knew He was telling me,” It’s OK, Lynne, I’ve got it. I’ll take care of you!” The One, who took my sins upon Himself, saved me once again and filled me with His strength. I knew He would get me through this dark valley and He did!

Dear Lord, my Light and my Redeemer,

           Alone I am nothing. Only through You am I able to face the storms of life. Dear Jesus, when I look to You my faith is strong, knowing You will guide me through the darkest valley. Please help me always to keep my eyes on You and not to look at what I am facing. Thank you Jesus for taking my sins, I love You so. I pray in Your powerful love. Amen.

Prayer Focus:

Churches:

DeKalb: First
Dixon: First
Dixon: Grace
Earlville
East Jordan
Elkhorn
Erie

Pastors:
 
Beverly Doreen Dukes
Larry Edward Dunlap-Berg
Nancy J Dvorachek
Sally Dyck
Rodney B Dye
Mosung Eam
Melissa Earley

NIC District Officers
Robbie Moultrie, Chicago Northwestern UMW President

NIC Advance Special
Rosecrance Kinley Charity Care Fund

* * * 

Girl Next Door

Holy Humor

Devotion for October 12-18

Marcia Peddicord, Certified Lay Minister, Princeton First UMC, DeKalb District

Colossians 2: 2  - I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery.  (The Message)

Recently, I saw a comment on Facebook about braiding and it reminded me of a wedding that I attended in August.  They performed a very moving braiding ceremony. It was fascinating to watch as they pledged to weave their lives together – husband, wife, God.

Having very short hair myself, which is certainly not conducive to braids, I began to research it. I found that the art of braiding goes back as much as 30,000 years. 

From Wikipedia, I also found out that braiding is traditionally a social art. Because of the time it takes to braid hair, people often socialize while having their hair braided. It begins with the elders making simple knots and braids for younger children. Older children watch and start practicing on younger children, and eventually learn the traditional designs. This carries on a tradition of bonding between elders and the new generation.

So, that got me thinking about it. Could that social art of braiding be sort of like building a relationship with Jesus?

Many of us began our lives learning about Jesus from our family: in reading the Bible and taking us to church. We didn’t understand much at first. It was a beginning, as they showed us how to entwine our lives with Jesus. As we grew, we saw our parents and other adults socializing in potlucks or Bible studies around church services and watched curiously as we saw Jesus braided into their everyday lives. We saw and heard them pray at meals. They helped us form our nightly prayers. We may have enjoyed sitting with a family member as they read the Bible out loud. 

Going through confirmation, we asked many questions and discovered in-depth how strong the braid with Jesus has been through our families’ lives to form a deep sense of connection. We may have felt the calling to braid Jesus into our lives too…so much so that we may have asked Jesus into our hearts then. As our family members, we saw how much better life is when that braid with Jesus is closely woven and tight. No, life is not a breeze and there are good times and bad times, but the braid with Jesus holds. When we married and started a family, we carried on the tradition of teaching our children how to braid their lives with Jesus. 

Even John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Movement, encouraged his followers to keep the bond with Jesus strong. He knew that new Methodists needed to listen to and watch other believers see how they lived with Jesus braided into their lives. He formed them into small groups to keep their faith braided tight. He planned Love Feasts, where even the newest of believers could tell the story of how they were living a life that now included having Jesus braided in it. It was a powerful and affirming way to keep up the connection with Jesus and other fellow Christians.

Today, may we always feel the connection, the relationship, the braid that we have with Jesus is strong and unbreakable.  May we continue to teach others how to braid their lives with Jesus by our words AND how we live our lives.  And may Jesus continue to bless us.

 Dearest and most Gracious God, who gave us your son to be our Savior, help us to live our lives so that our braid with Jesus remains strong our whole life long. It is in Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN

Prayer Focus:

Churches:

Ashton

Brookville (in Polo)

Chana

Coleta

Compton

Cortland

Creston


Pastors:

Kay Bevans Dillard

Rodney Bruce Dillenger

Daniel F. Diss

Eunbae Doh

Wesley Patton Dorr

Ulysses S. Doss, Jr

Philip M. Dripps

 

NIC Leaders:
Leon N. DeLoney, Chicago Northwestern UMM President

NIC Advance Special:
Reynoldswood Christian Camp

* * * 

Devotion for October 5-11

Dogma Bites
By Diane Strzelecki, Conference Communications Specialist and Administrative Assistant


Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry. James 1:19 (CEB)

We live in a contentious culture, but as Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 1:9 (CEB), “There’s nothing new under the sun.” If James is counseling people to be “quick to listen” and “slow to speak,” it’s probably because humans are naturally slow to listen and quick to speak.

Of course, when James led the Jerusalem church, there was no social media enabling knee-jerk responses to other’s opinions. There was no comment section on the news of the day where people could weigh in immediately. However, there were plenty of public conversations and interpersonal communication—and in these (and any) interactional moments, people are afraid of not being heard. That fear leads us to stop listening and focus only on what we need to say. We might interrupt. We can get angry if we think our perspective is devalued.

Once I got so caught up in a combative Facebook post that I wrote angry paragraphs in the comment bubble and was poised to ”send” when I suddenly thought: “Do you really need to do that?” In that moment, I realized my “weighing in” would be more harmful than helpful and I deleted the comment. Thank God for that moment of wisdom!

Dear God, help me curb my impulse to speak and help me understand when speaking is helpful. Thank you for hearing me and calming my fear.

Prayer Focus

Churches:

Olympia Fields

Park Forest: Grace United Protestant

Riverside

Thornton

Tinley Park

Western Springs

Albany

 

Pastors

Megan Dean Tobola

David M Decker

Linda K Deming

Martin Louis Deppe

Rich DeVries

Elmer Dickson

Wesley S Dickson

 

NIC Leaders

Ellen Feliciano  Chicago Northwest Lay Leader

NIC Advance Special

RefugeeOne

* * * 

Week of Sept. 28 - Oct. 4

Patricia Arne, laity, Steward United Methodist Church, DeKalb District

Chronicles 29:10-13, 20

10 David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,

“Praise be to you, Lord,
    the God of our father Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.
11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
    and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
    for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
    you are exalted as head over all.
12 Wealth and honor come from you;
    you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
    to exalt and give strength to all.
13 Now, our God, we give you thanks,
    and praise your glorious name.

20 Then David said to the whole assembly, “Praise the Lord your God.” So they all praised the Lord, the God of their fathers; they bowed down, prostrating themselves before the Lord and the king.

After reading this passage I asked myself, “when is the last time you spent praising God like this?” 

  • While you were out walking in nature, admiring and thanking God for all He has given us to enjoy, and then stopped to fully enjoy it and let God penetrate your thoughts with praise?
  • When you were in your bedroom, or secret place, and overwhelmed by a thought or scripture given to you by Holy Spirit and you fell on your knees, or prostrate, or even just sitting in your favorite chair, in adoration and wonder?
  • When you were listening to some awe-inspiring song and sang along in your heart, or even out loud in your car in praise to God our Creator, Jesus our Savior, and Holy Spirit our Helper? 
  • In your church sanctuary (or on Zoom) along with other believers as you heard a word from your pastor that touched your heart?

Today – may Abba Father be able to reach you as he did David so long ago, and inspire you with praise to our God, for He is worthy of praise!  Get “lost in wonder, love and praise!”

Abba Father, we come to You in Awe of all you have created and sustained, from everlasting to everlasting.  May You bless us with an awareness of Your presence with us as we go throughout today, giving us glimpses of Your strength and power.  We give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name!  In the mighty name of Your Son Jesus.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:

Churches:

Flossmoor: South Suburban Korean
Harvey: Transformation Community
Hazel Crest: Community
Homewood: St Andrew
LaGrange: First
Lansing: First

Oak Lawn: First

Pastors:

Stephan A. Dahl
Martha Windham D'Aquila
Richard S. Darr
Man Singh Das
George E. David
Daniel C. Davis
Regina Davis-Bridges

NIC Officers and Staff:
Donna Sagami,  Chicago Northwest District Lay Leader
 

NIC Advance Special:

Reconciling Ministries Network

* * * 

Week of Sept. 21-27
By Dave Holden, retired Local Pastor and educator, Rochelle UMC, DeKalb District

Judging Wrongly

Holy Humor

Romans 14:10-13

Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.”  So then, each of us will be accountable to God.  Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another,

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