Noel Goh traveled 36 hours by plane to be a delegate at the United Methodist General Conference, but he will not cast a single vote.
Goh, a Methodist minister in Singapore, is a prayer delegate. He’s one of about 250 volunteers who staff the prayer room on the third floor of the David Lawrence Convention Center.
The Western Pennsylvania Conference prayer ministry team put together the General Conference prayer room. It’s a quiet, peacefully decorated ballroom with several prayer stations and a prayer tent designed to be a sanctuary for any General Conference participant or visitor who seeks meditation and reflection.
With eyes tightly closed and head bowed, Goh prays with and for anyone who requests it. Prayer topics range from healing for a family member, to God’s will for the General Conference.
Goh, who is now on a sabbatical from the Singapore church, says it’s inspiring to see people from all over the world “coming here at different times with a heart for prayer, crying out to the Lord.”
The clergyman says he was called to be a prayer delegate at General Conference. “It’s like the Lord has made it possible to come here on my own and to be able to learn as well as contribute to what’s happening here,” he said.
Goh and the 250 other prayer delegates volunteer time to pray with people they’ve never met and may never see again. He says it’s a privilege to offer the opportunity for others to communicate with God.
“Prayer is like a cry,” said Goh. “Everyone cries, even a baby. It may be a cry of need or a cry of dependence on somebody bigger than us. When we’ve grown to a point where we think we are independent and we don’t need to cry or get help, that’s when we stop praying –– really praying.
*Riemland is a freelance producer and correspondent for United Methodist News Service.
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