Pastors Lisa, Mary Gay and I, along with the Tuesday UMCG Prayer Group are calling the whole congregation to join in a breakthrough prayer initiative from September 12-October 3.
What is a breakthrough prayer initiative? It’s a simple additive component to our church’s prayer life across all ages, ministries, committees, teams and classes. Along with our usual prayers for healing, protection, comfort and wisdom, a Breakthrough Prayer Initiative focuses the prayers of the whole church with a request for God to break through with new ideas, hopes and God possibilities for the future of UMCG.
How does a break-through prayer initiative work? A congregation unites in praying the same short, specific prayer on a daily basis at the same time every day for the duration of the initiative. In our case, we are asking everyone to pray at 9am and/or 9pm starting on September 12th and concluding on October 3rd. We will begin our in-person worship during the Sundays of the initiative with the breakthrough prayer and we are sending prayer cards home so that everyone can take 30 seconds and pray our breakthrough prayer at least once daily at 9am or 9pm. It is best to set a reminder in your phone or put the prayer card somewhere where you’ll see it at 9am or 9pm and remember to pray.
Why is the congregation being called to prayer? It’s a new season in the life of UMCG. We recognize that we have to adapt if we want a vibrant and vital future as a congregation. Instead of rushing off and doing whatever seems best to us we feel it’s best to stop and pray and ask God for the ways we ought to go. The Psalmist imparted this wisdom succinctly in writing: “Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (Ps 143:8 NIV)” And Jesus shows us the fullness of faithfulness in his own prayer life when he seeks God’s will and desires over his own in praying, “Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” (Luke 22:42 NIV) A breakthrough prayer initiative grounds us in these faithful practices for turning to the Lord before setting course. Chances are God will surprise us with new life, direction and vitality.
What are we praying for? Our prayer card is specific about what we are asking of God, but in summary we ask God to break through all the barriers we put up and to renew, revive our church; unleash energy for our mission; to be boldly used by God for the fulfilment of the mission; and to be open to being filled by God for joyful service.
Have other churches done this kind of prayer thing? YES! In the Old Testament we read how the Israelites would pray for God to break through into the hearts and minds of the community. The Lord’s Prayer asks God to break through and for God’s will to come on earth as it is in heaven. The early church has had similar seasons of prayer. Recently, these break-through prayer initiatives have been the foundation of many church renewal programs.
What if I want to learn more or go deeper? Naturally, you can ask any of your pastors, but we also encourage you to share in the Tuesday Prayer group. It meets in a hybrid format from 1pm-1:30pm in the parlor AND on Zoom. Contact Pastor Mary Gay if you want to join via Zoom.
Thank you for considering answering this call to congregational prayer and trusting God to do a mighty work in us and through us.
Holy God, send your Holy Spirit to:
Breakthrough, renew, and revive the United Methodist Church of Geneva.
Unleash your vision for our mission of making and nurturing disciples of Jesus Christ who serve the community and the world.
Boldly use all of us without limits, delays or excuses to: defend the poor, offer abundant life, heal a broken world, share your message of love and invite them to share in what you are doing through UMCG.
Open and fill us, O God, with a joyful desire to follow your way of light, love and truth.
We pray this in the precious and powerful name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.