Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Praying our Way Forward


Dear Friends,

Each day at 2:23 p.m. my phone alarm sounds to remind me to join thousands of other United Methodists around the globe for four minutes of prayer for our denomination. Sometimes my four minutes are from 2:23 through 2:26. Other times they are during another segment of the day. Regardless, I find hope in knowing that during these months leading up to General Conference 2019, many of us are praying four minutes a day for the United Methodist Church.

The Way Forward process has been undergirded with prayer since its launch at the 2016 General Conference. Phase one involved 84 bishops, each praying for 15 minutes per day from August to December 2016. This was followed by phase two, which resulted in 18 continuous months of daily individual and corporate prayer by faithful members of annual conferences around the globe. Now we are in phase three, which began this summer and continues through the special session of General Conference. During this phase, the Council of Bishops encourages every United Methodist to fast and pray with us.

  1. We invite participants to pause and pray for our church’s mission and way forward for four minutes from 2:23 through 2:26 a.m. or p.m. OR at another time each day. 2:23-2:26 correlates with the special General Conference scheduled for February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri. The suggested prayer focus is: a) for our increased effectiveness in reaching others for Jesus Christ and b) for the 2019 General Conference to find a way forward that honors our Triune God.
  2. We also encourage participants to engage in a weekly Wesleyan fast from Thursday after dinner to midday on Friday. Those who have health situations which cause food fasts to be inadvisable might consider fasting from a favorite activity like social media, emails or eating desserts.

The next time an alarm goes off at 2:23 a.m. or p.m., consider offering a prayer on behalf of The United Methodist Church. Better still, set your phone alarm to sound each day at 2:23 or another time that works for you and join other United Methodists in Praying Our Way Forward. Also, consider participating in a weekly fast. Much prayer and fasting will surely make a difference in our effectiveness in our mission and also in the spirit and atmosphere of the 2019 General Conference.

As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference

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