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WAYS: What is your prayer as the New Year 2017 begins?


January-February 2017

Several weeks prior to finishing each issue of Interpreter, we invite readers for whom we have email addresses to respond to a question with a short answer of 50-75 words.

We asked, "What is your prayer as the New Year begins?"

You said ...

Praying for the church

My prayer for the New Year 2017 is that the loving presence of Jesus Christ will so permeate the entire United Methodist Church that we will see one another with the same eyes that our Lord sees each one of us; that this relationship will spread to the communities and world around us because we are making disciples who transform the world. Amen. The Rev. Frederick Ball, First UMC, Titusville, Florida

I pray that we might learn to live together in peace, celebrating our diversity while seeking our commonality as children of God, bathed in God's grace and filled with God's Spirit. David Bowman, Hamilton UMC, Neptune, New Jersey.


My prayer as the New Year begins is for revival to be experienced in the lives of our church members, in our nation and throughout our beloved, global United Methodist church. The Rev. Jeff Raffauf, West Lawn UMC, Reading, Pennsylvania

My prayer is for our congregations to lead the unsaved to saving grace by our almighty God. We accomplish this with loving kindness to everyone and being good examples every day. Rick Wilson, Trinity UMC, Columbia, Kentucky

Praying to confess

Oh, Lord, you have taught us to love our enemies, but we haven't learned. The message you have given us for them, a message that includes that every person is your child, has not been received, most likely because we haven't learned it ourselves. We pray you will help us make this part of our lives. Amen. James Langworthy, First UMC, Hyattsville, Maryland

May the love of Christ and fellowship of the Holy Spirit permeate our world in such a way that all people will be cared for physically and emotionally.  All truly means all.  May hatred, bigotry and greed disappear. Anne Crofoot Queen, First UMC, Morrilton, Arkansas

Praying for healing of divisions, for unity

God, by whatever name we call you, and even when we don't know your name: Teach us new ways to have calm and rational conversations about the issues that divide us. Help us use the power and strength you have given us to do good and not evil, to choose love over fear, and unity over division. Help each of us make a positive difference in at least one person's life each day. Amen. Nanci Bockelie, Christ UMC, Salt Lake City, Utah

I pray that in this post-election year that we as a country turn our hearts toward our relationship with Christ and less toward our political affiliations. I pray that instead of letting our cross dangling from our necks proclaim our Christianity that our lives by our actions and responses let people know that Christ is king of our lives and that "They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love" is more than just a song we sing. Cynthia A. Defibaugh, Lewistown-Trinity UMC, Lakeview, Ohio

I pray that our people open their ears and hearts to one another and work to the good of all. That said,  that we understand that voices are best heard in partnership and compromise with one another, when voices are used to talk with one another, to hear one another while laying aside "ranting" at one another. Elizabeth Dempsey, Holcombe (Wisconsin) UMC

That we listen to and respect each other and that we share the love that God has for us ALL! Gary Hebert, Eastern Parkway UMC, Schenectady, New York

I pray that our church continues to celebrate the great diversity that makes us strong.  God's grace is available to all.  As John Wesley so eloquently said, "Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences." David Sanger, Trinity UMC, Denver, Colorado

My prayer is for a unified country – God-fearing, faithful, constitutionally aware and prosperous. May minds be open to reason, closed to bigotry and directed toward a better world for all and aware that none of this is possible without strong spiritual direction. Ted Holcombe, Iona UMC, Lebanon, Pennsylvania

I'm praying for all races, religions, gender identities that we can accept all people and come to an understanding of each other. Give each other support and pray that we move forward in these difficult times. Dave Smith, St Paul’s UMC, Milwaukie, Oregon

Praying daily

I pray for a love of scripture to take hold of our congregation, our conference, and our country. I pray for an ignition of trust in God's Word, as revealed through the Holy Spirit. I pray we would all pause in our opinions and pray for inspiration from the God we serve, rather than leaning so much on our own opinions and understanding. Give us humility as we dive into scripture together this year. Tommy Fitchett, First UMC, Hanover, Pennsylvania

O, God, who makes all things new, why does it take so long to change what I believe so urgently needs to be changed? Does this mean I need to change also? Show me the way, please, and lead me in it, through him who brings light into all of our darkness. Amen. The Rev. James E. Magaw Sr., retired, East Ohio Conference

I pray daily for patience and tolerance for ideas that are opposite my own. I believe that common sense can eventually counteract fear and the need for power. God has given us the power of compassion. May we use it well. Pat Stewart, St John's UMC, Austin, Texas

I pray for the ability to stay curious, keep my heart open and for our country to have some unity going forward. Kirsten Williams, Chevy Chase (Maryland) UMC

Praying for justice

My prayer for the New Year is that all people of good conscience commit themselves to work for social justice in faithful obedience to the call of Christ.  Our world is facing ever-growing challenges, and we are called to have good courage as we move into an unknown future. Sandy White, University UMC, Austin, Texas

Heavenly Father, Mother: These are the best and worst of times. I pray that we are guided to provide your wonderful world with clean water air and safe food for all your children. Martha Parker, Glide Memorial UMC, San Francisco, California

Praying for love

There are so many things that are divisive in our world today. My prayer is that we can find common ground and a common purpose to be the hands, feet and shining example of God’s love to our community. Kevin Beall, Whaley UMC, Gainesville, Texas

Jesus said, "Do not judge" and "Love one another." We judge far too much and love far too little. My prayer is for a reversal, that God's kingdom may come on earth as it is in heaven. The Rev. James Bowden, Trinity UMC, Denton, Texas

Heavenly Father, please help me to love my neighbor as Jesus teaches us to do. Help me to focus on loving those in the community that are of a different faith or culture or lifestyle than mine.  We are all children of God and I choose to treat others that way, guide my steps in making this happen. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. Sarah Bragg, Atascadero (California) UMC

My prayer is that all actions and decisions may come from a place of love, justice and fairness. May there be welcoming of the Holy Spirit when we are visited and awareness of our neighbors and their needs no matter their ethnicity, economic status and politics. These are the things for which I pray. Janice Olmsted, North Mason UMC, Belfair, Washington

Praying for the United States and its leaders

I pray for the future of our country. The Lord has blessed us with much; may he continue to bless us with humility, inclusiveness, compassion, unconditional love and peace. Jorge Casablanca, Kennedale (Texas) UMC

I pray that God manifests himself in using the Trump administration, those who seek to use Trump's power, AND those who fear Trump's rhetoric so that all can be turned to see God's face. Ken Franklin, Vicksburg (Michigan) UMC

God is faithful. God is still redeeming the world and asking us to participate. Pray for our country, for people of color, for undocumented workers and those dependent on governmental services and assistance. Pray for the losers and the winners. Pray for people of good will to reach out to their neighbors and friends that we may all together find a way forward. Pray that Christ's character will also be in his people. Jose Griffin-Atil, Imperial Beach (California) UMC

My prayers are for harmony, understanding, patience and reconciliation between the angry factions in our country, for our leaders to recognize the catastrophic threat posed by climate change and to lead us in making the difficult changes that we need to control this threat and for peace in the Middle East. Steven Langberg, UMC of Westlake Village, California

That as Americans we give the new president a chance to represent all of us. That we hold true to the values of generations that embrace all types of peoples. To pray for White House and hope that Mr. Trump might be or become a person of faith. Leslie Murray, Lafayette (California) UMC

My prayers as we begin a new year are for a peaceful transition in the presidency and here in North Dakota. May God be the center of all decisions made and not personal egos. I pray for peace and tolerance here and in the world. May God bless us all. Dennis Rehder, Faith UMC, Minot, North Dakota

Praying for peace

I pray that we might learn to live together in peace, celebrating our diversity while seeking our commonality as children of God, bathed in God's grace and filled with God's Spirit. David Bowman, Hamilton UMC, Neptune, New Jersey

Dear Lord, thank you for hearing our prayers in your infinite mercy. I pray for peace in our world and tolerance among all of your children.  As we enter a new year, may your wisdom and discernment be our light. Jane Johnson, Trinity UMC, Greenville, South Carolina

My prayer for now and the future is that this world will become more peaceful, compassionate and caring while furthering the kingdom of God right here on earth. Thalia Matherson, Warren UMC, Dallas, Texas

Ever since the election, the song or hymn, "Let There Be Peace on Earth, and Let It Begin with Me" has been playing in my head. That's my prayer, for a peaceful, moral, loving nation that inspires the rest of the world. Elaine Nance, Washington Street UMC, Petersburg, Virginia

Like many others, I pray for peace, shalom. May nations beat their swords into plowshares; may the love taught and practiced by Jesus be practiced by people everywhere and may families be secure. William Saxman, Summerville (Pennsylvania) UMC

O God of new beginnings, you created us and are with us always. Breathe peace into all your people that we be your light in a troubled world. Waken all to your presence that we be filled with your hope anew. In the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. George Volz, Carson (Iowa) UMC