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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

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, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.

Am I more prone to judge these days? Is it because I am older and more close-minded?  Is it because I am retired and now just a ‘citizen’ without the daily reminder (as a pastor) that I was viewed as, and called to be, a beacon for the congregation?

It is so easy to decide how others should behave.

If those people would only wear masks.

If only those people would comply with social distancing and NOT have social gatherings.

And let’s not overlook, that as the election nears…  wonder how people could possibly support or vote for…

As I read this week’s Lectionary passage from Romans 14 (and I focus on vs 10-12 and add 13) I was reminded of my own difficulty in side-stepping that tendency to judge. Reminded that we are to love even those with whom we disagree.

Prayer:

Father God, help me to use these unusual times to become more than I have been. Let me remember that I don’t have all the answers. Help me remember that I haven’t walked a mile in anyone’s shoes but my own.  Let me remember we are all your children… that every knee will bow… and every tongue confess.  Let me learn to accept others… even as you have accepted me. Help me to diminish my arrogance and put on humility as a cloak.

In your precious name, Amen.

Prayer Focus:

Churches:

Chicago: United Church of Hyde Park

Chicago: Urban Village (South Loop & Hyde Park/Woodlawn

Chicago: Wesley

Cicero: Wesley

Crete

Dolton: Faith

Evergreen Park: First


Pastors:

Paula Cripps-Vallejo

Laura J Crites

James Crone

Harriette D Cross

Thomas H Cross, Sr

Calvin Culpepper

Gary L Curl


NIC Staff:   
Brittany Isaac, Chicago Northwestern DS

NIC Advance Special Ministry:  Prisoner Release Ministry, Inc.

* * * 

Fastest Runner

Holy Humor

Devotion for September 14-20, 2020

Karen Bonnell, lay member at Steward United Methodist Church

Psalm 42: 1-2

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
    so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
    the face of God?

I headed out for a run in gently falling rain, as it wasn’t going to improve, and I’d missed a couple days of running already.  This isn’t my favorite running weather, but it wasn’t that cold and I’d get used to it, I told myself.  Running is a great time for me to connect with God.  After about a mile out in the country, I’d gotten my stride and started listening to the rain hit the corn on one side and the grove on the other.  SO peaceful!  The land and grove had been so dry after 6 weeks with very little rain.  The creek had run dry.  As God was replenishing the earth, my soul felt replenished.  Joy filled my heart.  Friends, we have an awesome God!

Thank you, Provider God, for rain to replenish the earth and joy to replenish our souls.  You are present to all who call on you and you fill their longings.  What a great God you are!  We love you.  Amen

What message may God be laying on your heart to share with the NIC?  We invite good writers to submit devotions to DiscipleshipTF@umcnic.org.  

Prayer Focus:

Churches:

Chicago: Morgan Park on Elizabeth St
Chicago: Morgan Park on Longwood Dr
Chicago:  New Gresham
Chicago: South Shore
Chicago: Southlawn
Chicago: St Mark

Chicago: Union Avenue

Pastors:

Jacobita Cortes
Carol L Cory
Pamela D Couture
Brittany R M Cox
Dwayne Craig
Jonathan S Crail
Margaret Ann Crain

NIC Staff:
Debbie Rogers, Administrative Assistant

NIC Advance:
Outdoor & Retreat Ministries "Camperships"

* * * 

September 7-13
From: Rev. Caleb Hong, pastor at Orland Park: Faith

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will hope in the LORD.  I will be joyful in God my Savior."
- Habakkuk 3:17-18
 
Stewardship

Holy Humor

The prophet Habakkuk (who has a very hard name to spell) paints a bleak picture. Fruitless trees and vines. Failed crops and barren fields. Sheep and cattle missing from their pens and stalls. For people living in ancient times, this was about a bleak a picture as you could paint. And yet, the prophet writes, "I will hope in the LORD." Even when times are bad and things could not get worse, Habakkuk declares, "I will be joyful in God my Savior."

Friends, this is a picture of RESILIENCE.  

Resilience is refusing to stay down when you've been knocked down.  Resilience is the courage (and tenacity) to get back up - to keep running the race - to keep doing your best - no matter what.

I have two daughters.  They share the same gene pool, but are as different as night and day.  One is a morning person.  The other is a night owl.  One loves school.  The other passionately despises it.  Needless to say, I was concerned (as a parent) when our school district announced that they were going 100% online learning.  Our spring online learning experience was not a positive one.  Our family was not looking forward to the new virtual school year.

After several days of frustrated fumbling with webpages and links and schedules, our girls are getting settled into their daily routines.  For the last few days, they have been waking up more easily (even our younger daughter).  As I work from my home office, I can hear excited responses and laughter spilling out from my daughters' virtual classrooms (ie. bedrooms).  

As a skeptic, I am happy to share that TEACHERS are connecting with students.  They are using their God-given gifts (which now seem to me like super-powers) to nurture the minds and hearts of students, even the ones in my home.  STUDENTS are engaging with their classwork and classmates.  They're learning and growing (little by little) every day.

Praise God for the gift of teachers. 
Praise God for the gift of resilient students (and families.)
Praise God for the gift of hope and joy every day, in any situation.

~ Pastor Caleb

Prayer Focus:
Churches: 
Chicago: Greenstone
Chicago: Hartzell Memorial
Chicago: Hyde Park Korean
Chicago: Ingleside-Whitfield 30024
Chicago: Kelly Woodlawn
Chicago: Lincoln
Chicago: Maple Park


Pastors:

Kay F Collins
Jan Parsons Comerford
Fred H Conger
Leo M Constantino
Jacques A Conway
Darlene Cools
Christian T Coon

NIC  UM Foundation Staff:  Carolyn Cook

NIC Advance Special ministry:  Native American Ministry of Presence


 

* * * 
August 24-30
From Rev Caleb Hong, Pastor Orland Park: Faith

JUSTICE

“love your neighbor as yourself.”
-  Luke 10:27

Img20200825 17102518

Champions for justice come in many shapes and forms.  They can look like protestors, who call for justice and march in rallies across the nation.  They can look like police officers, who protect people from danger and violence.  They can look like parents and grandparents, who help the next generation understand the historical struggles of minority groups, especially African-Americans.  They can also come wearing a red cardigan.

One of my childhood mentors was Mr. Rogers.  Every day, I watched him smile and laugh, play games and make-believe.  I didn't realize (until many years later) that he was a follower of Jesus and champion for justice. 

A few weeks ago, a friend shared a picture of Mr. Rogers (Caucasian-American) sitting with Officer Clemens (African-American). They were two friends smiling and enjoying each other's company while cooling their feet in a kiddie wading pool. 

All of this looks innocent enough until you realize this took place in 1969. This was during a time when swimming pools across America were still segregated.  Black children were not allowed to swim in pools with white children.

Through this simple exchange, Mr. Rogers and Officer Clemens stood up for justice. They reaffirmed the sacred worth of all people regardless of race or skin color. They refused to honor antiquated laws and unjust ways of thinking.  In this way, they joined others in the movement that changed our nation for the better.

Friends, I know this is a confusing and challenging time. It's tempting to fall into a mindset of fear and hopelessness.  However, as followers of Christ, I encourage us to be bold and fearless. Let's do all we can to Love God and Love our neighbors  Let's be the advocates for needed change and reforms. Let's be the voices that cry out against injustice and abuse.

Let's be champions for justice. We may not sound alike in what we say. We may differ in the details of what we do.  However, as long as we stand on the side of justice, we'll stand on the side of love.  We'll stand on the side of God.

Prayer Focus: Churches, Pastors, NIC Staff and NIC Advance Projects

 
 

Blue Island: Grace

Hope M Chernich

Jeff Casey

Midwest Distribution Center

 

Brookfield: Brookfield/Compassion

Eun Chol Cho

   
 

Chicago: Amor de Dios

Chan Ik Choi

   
 

Chicago: Chicago Lawn

Eun-Hye Choi

   
 

Chicago: Clair Christian

Kihwan Choi

   
 

Chicago: East Side

Young Choi

   

Chicago: Englewood-Rust

Hwa-Young Chong

* * * 

 

August 16-23

Fund Raising Ideas

Holy Humor

By Sandra Gulledge Major, New Gresham United Methodist Church, Chicago 

An Intercessory Prayer of Separation From  Family & New Birth

Devotion:

During this time of uncertainty and change, many of us need to know that God is still with us, and that our lives are in God’s hands.  The media is very active in showing us the conditions of our world that are not praise-worthy.  This intercessory prayer is an offering of both concern and of joy; which helps us to see beyond our current situations with the hope that God has not, and will not abandon us.  Let us pray……

Almighty, and Loving God,

Who knows the hearts and minds of all of Your people,

We come before You as our Caregiver,

Knowing that all of our needs will be met.

We are in desperate need of relationship with You.

Many of us are experiencing great loss and separation from family

and loved ones, as a result of the very present pandemic. 

We are hospitalized, and suffering alone.

We are imprisoned, and suffering alone.

We are isolated, and suffering alone. 

We are grieving in so many ways, and often alone.

Lord, we ask You to please meet us where we are. 

Forgive us for not trusting in You as we ought to. 

Give us grace and strength in the areas where we are weak and unmindful.

And, Lord, In the midst of all that we experience, we thank You that You are still at work on the behalf of Your people.

Thank You for renewing our faith in knowing that even in our solitude, You are yet planting, and bringing new life.  You are still blessing, and You are still creating for us and within us.

Thank You for great things that come in Your perfect timing. 

And that the weeping that comes is always a precursor of the joy that follows.

Thank you for the great reunions in Heaven and on the earth.

You are truly an awesome God, and we love you and we thank You for answering our prayers according to Your will.

Through Jesus Christ we do pray.  Amen.

Psalms 30:5 

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Luke 6:21 

Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

-Written by Sandra Gulledge Major

Prayer Focus: Churches, Pastors, NIC Staff and NIC Advance Projects                                                             

  Park Ridge: First Xiomara Castro

Laura Lopez

The Martin Keagy Fund
  River Forest Miriam Rebeca Castro-Rodriguez    
  Skokie: Central Arthur David Catlin    
  Skokie: Jesus Loves Korean Church Heju Nam Cha    
  Wheeling: First Korean Brian L Channel    
  Wilmette: Trinity

JoAnne Chase

 

* * * 
August 9-16

By Marcia Peddicord, CLM, Princeton: First UMC, DeKalb District

During this pandemic time, I keep thinking of excerpts from Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8.  It begins with “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven…” (NRSV)

“…a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted…”

We are “planting” the seeds of safety and protection at this time.  It’s called social distancing, using hand sanitizer and Clorox Wipes, wearing masks to protect ourselves and others, thinking twice before we “get the gang together.”   It is live-stream worship, even as in-person worship is now available.  And we will “pluck up” the fact that each person feels safe in either watching on Facebook/YouTube/ZOOM or coming to the services in-person, knowing that we have taken the precautions to care for them individually.

“…a time to keep and a time to throw away…”

Our denomination has gathered many time-honored traditions that give our church members much comfort as we participate in worship through the year.  Each church has its own traditions also.  We rely on them, we trust them, and we look forward to participating in them.  

But…perhaps now is the time that we may want to explore a whole new world of opportunity.   We have found a wondrous new audience of churchgoers online and want them to keep watching.  We cannot shake hands or hug right now, but there are church members and pastors dedicated to “reaching out and touching base” with their church members/regular attendees to send them bulletins, devotions, cards or letters or to call them. 

When this pandemic eventually winds to a conclusion, we will still have time-honored traditions, but others will be replaced in order to become a new, alive, giving and forgiving church…strong in our new traditions too.

“…a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

We have prayed when we hear that someone in our church or extended family has tested positive or been stricken with COVID-19, rejoiced when that someone recovers, and mourned if that someone passes away.  We mourn for special times (such as graduations and birthdays) that have gone “uncelebrated” this year.  We mourn for the school-age kids, who miss their friends and want to be with them.  We mourn that, even though we can go back to church, we cannot hug or shake hands or sit together or sing the songs we love. We mourn when we cannot visit the hospitals or retirement homes to see our loved ones and provide that loving and caring touch.

But, just as the Israelites celebrated their freedom from Egypt, we will also celebrate when time, or perhaps a vaccine, will bring us freedom. We will cast aside the restrictions; able to be together again in close proximity, to hug, to sing, to eat together, and yes, to dance…a grand celebration of joy in which the whole world will take part.

But for now, in this season, we wait…safely…and lean on our Savior, Jesus Christ for support.  In Christ, we find a safe harbor, a loving touch, a welcoming embrace, a soothing voice, and a beautiful song…with no restrictions. 

Prayer:

Merciful God, your loving arms are always open.  Gather us to you as a mother hen gathers her chicks so that we may feel comforted.    Empower us to learn new ways, to reach people who don’t yet know you and show them the love that you so richly share with us.  Come into our hearts and abide in us always so that your light is visible for all to see.   In Jesus’ name we pray.  AMEN.

 Prayer Focus:  churches, pastors

  Melrose Park: Stone Park Mission Carrasco, Oscar Natanael   JFON--Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors
  Northbrook: Glenbrook Korean Cheryl L Carroll    
  Northbrook Douglas Allynn Carroll    
  Northbrook: North Northfield Eugene L Carter    
  Oak Park: Euclid Avenue Ronna Lynne Case    
  Oak Park: First Sarah Casey    
  Oak Park: St John's

Timothy D Casey

   


NIC Staff: Diane Strzelecki

Holy Humor:

You know you’re getting older when…

·       You sing along with elevator music

·       You have a party and the neighbors don’t even realize it.

·       When you do the “Hokey Pokey” and put your left hip out, it stays out.

·       Your childhood toys are now in a museum.

·       You are toasted on your birthday as follows:  “He was born in the Year of Our Lord only knows.”

* * * 

August 3-9, 2020

By Jacques A.Conway, District Superintendent for Chicago Southern District

Who Will Offer Love

Bible Verse:  Luke 10:25-37

Devotion:  The question of who is “righteous” or “worthy” is often spoken by persons in the position of power and who have authority, opportunity, and resources that others lack. Their status is typically based on race, wealth, education, and acceptance by their peers.  As I prepared for this theme, I was drawn to the story of a man traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, told to us by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. The story is about a traveler who was beaten and robbed of his clothes and property and left to die alongside the road. Three men, all of providence and mean

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