November 05, 2020 | by JB Brayfindley
“In the words of the psalmist, how good and how pleasant it is for us to be together in unity to pray and ask for God’s blessing on our living in these times,” stated Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño as she introduced the Concert of Prayer for Healing Webinar on Wednesday, November 4, 2020. “…it’s like dew falling on a dry and suffering land.”
Spiritual leaders, clergy and laity from across the conference joined together in moments of silence, followed by guided prayer and the reading aloud of prayer requests submitted in the Zoom chat. The prayers were organized in a series of topics moving through an expanding social arc beginning with individual, personal prayers to those requests encompassing the entire world.
“It seems to me that sometimes praying for ourself is discouraged,” stated Los Rios District Superintendent Rev. Shinya Goto. He referred to Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness spent praying for himself and wrestling with his doubts in order to prepare for his ministry. “… it is such an important part of our spiritual journey.”
Great Northern Superintendent Rev. Blake Busick prayed for places—communities, cities and rural areas. He led the group in a brief meditation asking participants to close their eyes and picture their area’s geography, economic concerns, social services, schools and churches--to consider the needs and functions of the area that need prayer.
“Creator God, in the name of Jesus, we thank you for the states of California and Nevada and the conference of the California-Nevada United Methodist Church,” prayed Micheal Pope. “… we know our strength as believers lies in our unity! And, we know that in this time you are asking us to be the Body of Christ. You are asking us to cast down any division that separates us from each other regardless of our political stance, our color, our gender … the thing that binds us is that we love You!”
In her prayer for the nation, Rev. Debra Brady, Superintendent of the Central Valley District, quoted the UMC Book Of Worship, p. 516, “Prayer for the Nation (Church of Pakistan, 20th Century)”:
“Look graciously, O Lord, upon this land.
Where it is in pride, subdue it.
Where it is in need, supply it.
Where it is in error, rectify it.
Where it is in default, restore it.
And where it holds to what which is just and compassionate, support it.
Brady added, “Source and Shelter, grant safety and security to all nations,
So that truth and harmony will resound from the four corners of the earth,”
citing Alven Solovy’s “For Wisdom During US Presidential Elections” (https://www.twobendlight.com).
“God’s creation is experiencing pain,” stated Rev. Jorge Domingues, Director of Connectional Ministries. Domingues reflected on the need to pray for the world. “… God’s children are experiencing pain and we are called to pray with them, we are called to pray for [God’s] creation, we are called to put our prayers into action.”
“… Lord, we shall need ever new insights into truth, awareness of your will for all humanity, courage to do what is right even when it is not allowed,” shared Domingues, reading a portion of a liturgy created by the Corrymeela Community from Belfast, Northern Ireland. The liturgy was written by the community which is committed to reconciliation in Northern Ireland and throughout the world and in the book, “Sinfonia Oecumenica – Worship with the Churches in the World,” (Published by EMW – Evangelical Mission Work, Hamburg, Germany, and Basler Mission, Basel, Switzerland. 1998). “[we shall need] Persistence in undermining unjust structures until they crumble into dust, [and] grace to exercise a ministry of reconciliation. Break down the walls that separate us and unite us into a single body. Amen.”
Next week’s Wednesday Webinar, “How to Make Connection Through Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations,” will be hosted by the CNUMC committee on Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations. Register HERE.