Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Praying Our Way Forward – Phase 2


Dear Friends,

Prayer connects us to God. Indeed, praying focuses us on listening attentively for God to speak.

The 2016 General Conference authorized the Council of Bishops to name a Commission to discern a way forward for our beloved United Methodist Church. Recognizing that following God’s leadership begins with prayer, the Council of Bishops has called the church to “Pray Our Way Forward” as the Commission does its work.

You may know that phase 1 of “Praying Our Way Forward” involved 84 bishops – each of whom prayed 15 minutes a day from September through November 15, 2016, for the formation and initial work of the Commission. This equaled a sum total of 21 hours of daily prayer from our episcopal leaders as the Commission was formed.

Phase 2 of Praying Our Way Forward launched on January 1, 2017, and will continue through June 2, 2018. The whole church is invited to participate in Phase 2 by: 1) praying daily for our effectiveness in our mission of disciple-making and for the work of the Commission on a Way Forward and 2) fasting weekly as able for our United Methodist Church’s future.

In addition, each of our United Methodist Conferences across the globe will participate in an assigned week of prayer. The North Alabama Prayer Team has been hard at work planning for our designated week, January 15-21, 2017.

Among other recommendations, the Prayer Team and I:

  • encourage pastors to kick off our assigned week by incorporating prayer for our mission and the Commission on a Way Forward during the Sunday service on January 15;
  • will e-mail a daily devotional each morning January 15-21;
  • invite individuals to pray daily for a God-honoring outcome to the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. Those who sign up for the vigil at will receive an email reply with prayer practices and a list of topics.
  • call North Alabama United Methodists to join the Bishop’s Operational team in participating in a Wesley fast beginning Thursday evening, January 19 through 3 p.m., Friday, January 20.

Yes, prayer connects us with God. Thanks for considering starting the year off by taking part in the North Alabama Conference’s Week of Prayer for our Church’s mission and way forward.

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

In Christ,
Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference

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