Day 1 of the UMC Young Clergy campaign to pray for the United Methodist Church begins today. You can follow these 40 days of prayer on the prayer blog (http://umcyoungclergy.com/prayer) and find the first prayer posted here.
What encourages me the most about this effort is its focus on renewal through prayer. Oftentimes, we think that new strategies or new models of church is going to be what grows us or saves us from this decline we find ourselves in. Really, we need to be about reengaging with what the Holy Spirit is already doing in our midst and in our world, and get on board with that. Such sensitivity to God's movement only comes through prayer - confessing where we've fallen short, asking for the grace to move forward, and seeing what emerges out of the mix.
I have great hopes for my denomination, even though some days I get bogged down with my frustration with it. It hurts to see how our apathy doesn't just affect us, but all the broken, hurting people who need a word of hope -- who need the love of Jesus and life transformation.
But I think we'll get there...and prayer is just the start.