Praying together in a variety of cultural traditions, nearly 200 people heard a message that "God needs the church to work with him" as they called The United Methodist Church to prayer.
"God does not need people telling him what to do," said the Rev. Suzette Caldwell, opening speaker for the "Becoming a People of Prayer" conference.
"Prayer was created for God's purposes to get us from the natural to the supernatural where God's plans are," said Caldwell, associate pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston.
The Sept. 21-22 event was held as a prelude to the 2008 General Conference, the denomination's top legislative meeting, which convenes once every four years and meets next spring in Fort Worth, Texas. The conference was held at Brentwood United Methodist Church and was sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and Aldersgate Renewal Ministries.
Caldwell urged believers to praise God and accept their identity in Christ. "God needs the church to work with him," she said.
In addition to calling the church to prayer, organizers aimed to equip participants to improve or develop their personal prayer lives, the prayer life in their churches and prayer ministries, both within and beyond the local church.
"With the coming General Conference ... and other critical events happening in our world, it is crucial that there are intentional prayers of the people to undergird and influence these happenings."
— Sandy Zeigler Jackson
"The goal was to strengthen and empower our ability to pray: as individuals, as families and as congregations," said Sandy Zeigler Jackson, the chief organizer. "With the coming General Conference ... and other critical events happening in our world, it is crucial that there are intentional prayers of the people to undergird and influence these happenings."
Participants heard from numerous speakers and prayed together in Native American, Euro-American, African-American, Hispanic and Asian traditions.
An agency of The United Methodist Church, the Board of Discipleship works with annual conference and local church leaders in its mission to develop world-changing disciples. Aldersgate Renewal Ministries is part of a nonprofit organization started by a network of United Methodists committed to praying for the spiritual renewal of The United Methodist Church.
*Pinkston is director of media relations for the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.
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