Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

In Prayer “With”: From Everywhere to Everywhere at the Turn of the New Year


As the earth continues turning at the end of the day on December 31, the people of the world begin to greet a new year. Each culture has a unique way of celebrating the New Year. In Spain, many people celebrate by eating 12 grapes (one for each chime of the midnight hour); children write letters to their parents or grandparents in Belgium; eating a special meal or dessert is very common in many cultures; and of course, many celebrations include the excitement of fireworks. For some communities, their cultural celebration of the New Year happens not on December 31, but at another time in their calendar, and they often celebrate twice—what fun!

No matter when we celebrate the turning of the calendar to a “new year,” we all seem to get the desire to contemplate what has gone before and what we hope will come in the year ahead. We are urged to make a “resolution,” to set a new course of action for our lives.

So what do we, as people of faith, who believe every day brings the opportunity to start anew, resolve to do in this new year?

We can pray. We can pray with our missionaries each day and for the many mission opportunities that are being lived out through their ministry. We can pray for the missionaries themselves, for their families still at “home,” as well as those who have traveled with them into their mission setting. We can pray for the communities with which they serve, expecting amazing things to happen in the name of Jesus Christ.

As our prayer partners, several of our missionaries offered prayers or prayer requests for us to pray with them as we move into the new year. Several offered prayers or prayer requests from the children in their ministry.

As United Methodists, we are in ministry with every missionary; every mission project; every child, youth, and adult whose life has been impacted through the ministry and work that is being done in the name of Jesus “from everywhere to everywhere.” We are intertwined and woven together as brothers and sisters through the love of Jesus Christ. How can we not pray with them and those with whom they serve in this new year?

Ways to use these prayers and prayer requests:

  • Consider using these as a part of your personal worship. Our prayer life begins at home in our own times of prayer and study. Print out these prayers and put them in your Bible or prayer guide. During the month of January, choose one of these prayers to pray each day. Pray also for the missionaries who wrote them and the many people with whom they serve.
  • Consider incorporating the prayers into your worship services. Add them to your worship by printing one in your bulletin as fits the theme and focus of the worship. Ask the congregation to take the bulletin home and pray the prayer or the prayer request every day that week. Include a short summary biography on the missionary who wrote the prayer. (Information at www.umcmission.org.)
  • Post them one at a time over the month of January on your church website or church Facebook page. Include the link to the missionary’s biography page so your congregation can learn more about the ministry of each person and can be in prayer with them. This is one way you can use Facebook as a spiritual formation tool.
  • Engage the Christian education ministry in your setting to pray the prayers in their small groups and other settings. Encourage them to be in communication with the missionaries through email. Perhaps the children or youth of your church could send their own prayers and prayer requests to the people engaged in the mission. Praying with each other means that we share our joys and concerns and can begin to develop a relationship together.
  • As you move into the rest of the year, go to www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service and scroll down the missionary’s names. Choose a missionary to pray for each day or for a week at a time. Use the suggestions above as a way to engage your congregation in praying for them as well. Read their biographies to learn more about the way they are serving. Read their blog or send them an email sharing that you are praying for them. Add a missionary’s name and setting to your bulletin to pray with each week.
  • Consider choosing a short chorus or refrain to sing throughout the month at the close of your prayer time. A familiar song, such as “Kum Ba Yah” (UMH #494) could easily be sung unaccompanied in your personal worship or corporate worship. The first 16 measures of “Bind Us Together” (TFWS #2226) reminds us that we are gathered together as one under the love of God. “Jesu, Tawa Pano” (TFWS #2273) would be a wonderful call to prayer, as would stanza 1 of “O-So-So” (TFWS #2232).
  • Create a bulletin board with the missionary’s picture and bio page next to his or her prayer. These are easily found at www.umcmission.org. Consider adding his or her picture to your bulletin. Invite the congregation to look at the missionary’s picture as you call his or her name aloud. If you are serving communion, use bread from the community with which the missionary is serving. A quick search on the internet will help you find the recipe, which a member of your church can bake as an offering to the church. If you have projection and internet connections in your worship setting, consider setting up a Skype call with the missionary, or pre-tape a short video on your own laptop as you Skype with the missionary.
  • Put your prayer into action. Be in conversation with these missionaries through email. Learn more about their ministry, and consider making a donation to support the missionary or a project with which he or she is serving. Stretch yourselves as a church and become a mission partner with a missionary. Go to www.umcmission.org and click on “donate.” The Advance number for each person who submitted prayers is included with his or her prayer.

  

Prayers from Everywhere to Everywhere

Hong Kong

“Lord, please give strength to those who are forced to leave their families to work abroad. Please give them the courage to stand up against the injustices they face. Mostly, God, help those who are creating the unjust situations to know you. Help them see that the pain that they cause is not what you wanted for this world. Amen.” 

—Beth Kauffman, serving with Migrant Workers in Hong Kong, Advance #3021840, Site Advance #14241A

Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo)

God of mercy, and the father of everyone, we ask that you watch over the Congolese people, as they desire to grow in faith, with the hope of your presence in their leadership. We witness to you forever, Amen!

—Rukang Chikomb, serving with the Southern Congo Wings of the Morning, DR Congo, Advance #14959Z

Dominican Republic

Dear God, you created the children with eyes that reflect your glory, and who live and bring life to the mean streets of the Dominican Republic. You have given us hope to share, beans and rice to help us grow, strong bodies to work and play, smart minds to learn; everything we need to be the children of God. Help us to be free to share our joy with everyone, protect us from evil and the dangers that are all around us, and send us Jesus so we can sit on his lap and hear his stories. Amen.

—Gordon and Ardell Graner, serving in ministry with the children of the Dominican Republic, Advance Special #3021935, Lost and Found: Children of the Dominican Republic, Educating children, youth, and women on Christian and community ministry

Tanzania

God of light, shining bright in the darkness, we pray at this hour and in this world where hope is snuffed out daily in the death of a child or the breaking heart of a friend, that you will touch and set alight the hearts of your church. We ask that these hearts, shining with your light, can grow, set others on fire, and bring your hope to those without hope and peace to those who fear the night. Amen. 

—Eric and Liz Soard, serving with the people of Tanzania, Eric: Advance #3021468, Liz: Advance #3021467

Israel/Palestine

A Prayer for a Break in the Turmoil in the Middle East:

O come, O come Emanuel this year to the world around us because we have messed it up horribly. Syria is burning with the fires of a civil war. Millions have become refugees, thousands lost their lives, and so many children are caught in the midst of this bloody conflict.

O come, O come Emanuel to Egypt, where millions are traumatized by one revolution after the next.

O come, O come Emanuel to rescue men, women, and children in Iraq who are dying via daily acts of terror.

O come, O come Emanuel to Lebanon that is threatened with religious and sectarian strife that has already snuffed out the lives of hundreds in the last few months, and threatens to destabilize the entire nation.

O come, O come Emanuel to the streets of Libya that are stained with the blood of rebel forces that fight each other and their government.

O come, O come Emanuel to Palestine, the land that witnessed your birth and was honored with the hope and excitement at your first coming. Have mercy on the masses that endure the yoke of a chronic military occupation.

O come, O come Emanuel to the 1.7 million humans who are trapped in the big jail called the Gaza Strip. Have mercy on both the trapped population and on the jailers.

O come, O come Emanuel this year, and forgive us, Lord, for creating such a mess in the Middle East and North Africa.

O Come, O come Child of Bethlehem, Prince of Peace, and King of Kings, and save us from our evil actions, calm our spirits, help us to forgive one another and to coexist. Come, Child of Bethlehem, we need you to save us both in flesh and in spirit. Come this year and be our peace and our salvation.

—Alex Awad, serving with Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem and The Shepherd Society, Advance #10825Z

Ireland

Help us, loving God, to see others with your compassion, especially those from a different cultural or political background than our own. Where there is division caused by hurt, conflict, or suspicion, help us by your Spirit to be people who embody your peace. Amen.

—Alison and Britt Gilmore, serving with the East Belfast Mission, Methodist Church in Ireland, Alison: Advance #3021321, Britt: Advance #3021322

DR Congo

Lord, we pray for people or parents who can’t afford money for their kids to have gifts. Blessings.

—Prayer from Sally, a child in the ministry with Fresie Chikomb, serving with the Southern Congo Wings of the Morning, DR Congo, Advance #3021434

Nepal

Lord, we pray for children’s protection in Tansen and for all those parents who are suffering from alcohol addiction.

—Prayer from Rachit, a child in the ministry with Les Dornon, serving as senior physician at Tansen Mission Hospital and Debbie Dornon, serving as coordinator at the hospital, Tansen, Nepal, Lester: Advance #10919Z, Deborah: Advance #10920Z, Tansen Mission Hospital: Advance #13421A

United States

Dear God, give me strength to follow your Son’s footsteps. Amen! Dear God, thank you for faith, family, and friends. Amen! Dear God, thank you for light, truth, love, and salvation. Amen! —Written by Adreanna, CJ, and other middle school students in ministry with Lisa Nichols, deaconess, serving with the Henry Fork Service Center, Rocky Mount, Virginia, Advance #982953

United States

Dear Lord, we pray this year that we trust God’s plans for us, for hope, and a future. 

—Dee Ann Heptas, serving with the United Methodist Coalfields Ministry, West Virginia, Advance #3021785

Bolivia

Dear God, please, fill in this prayer with Your will for me, and let me know what that is, as it best suits You. Amen.

—Skip Hodges, serving with Evangelical Methodist Church in Bolivia, Advance #3021318

 

Prayer Requests From Everywhere to Everywhere

Zambia

As the United Methodist Church expands in Zambia, we ask for your prayers to establish not only physical church structures but also spiritual temples within each Christian, whether new converts or growing disciples.

—Delbert and Sandy Groves, serving with the New Life Center, Kitwe, Zambia, Advance #15057A

Thailand

Pray for the eight beautiful girls living with HIV/AIDS at the Angels’ Haven in Chiang Mai, for their spiritual and physical health.

—Gary and Cindy Moon, serving with the AIDS Orphanage, Chang Mai, Thailand, Gary: Advance #3021132, Cindy: Advance #3021128, Angels’ Haven: Advance #3021209 

Zambia

Disabled people face many difficulties in everyday living and we would ask that you pray for an opportunity for them to receive a Personal Energy Transportation (PET) handicap bike to be able to lift them from crawling in the dirt to a life of hope through the gift of mobility.

—Delbert and Sandy Groves, serving with the New Life Center, Kitwe, Zambia, Advance #15057A

Cambodia

Pray for justice. Please pray for my community’s people who are having problems with their land issues. Please pray for our community’s people who are having a hard time buying daily food and the necessary things for their family and children. Pray for the world peace.

—Monney, Ravy, Thida, and Pouch Kosala, children serving with Clara Biswas, Cambodia; Street Children Ministry: Advance #14921A; creating educational opportunities for street children to improve their quality of life 

Zambia

As we seek to educate communities in better health, both physical and spiritual, we would ask that you pray for local trainers to catch the vision of developing preventive ways of teaching and training their peers through Community Health Education/Evangelism (CHE).

—Delbert and Sandy Groves, serving with the New Life Center, Kitwe, Zambia, Advance #15057A

  

Permission for reproduction of the prayers and prayer requests in this article is granted for use in congregational worship. For any other use, please contact the author of the liturgy through his or her missionary page at www.umcmission.org.

Written and compiled by Rev. Debra Tyree

Executive Secretary for Global Praise

www.globalpraise.org

December 2013



 

Special Days, Annual Events, and Months of Celebration

New Year
- January 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- third Monday of January

Black History Month
- February

Women's History Month - March

 
World Malaria Day
- April 25

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month - May

 
Hispanic Heritage Month
– September 15-October 15

International Day of Prayer for Peace
- September 21

Children's Sabbath - second weekend in October


Thanksgiving - November

Giving Tuesday - 1st Tuesday after Thanksgiving

World AIDS Day - December 1