Earlier this year, The Upper Room and the Prayer Ministry Team of General Conference 2016 asked us to coordinate the making of 2,000 prayer strands for the delegates, bishops, and staff of General Conference. We asked you to help. And what happened?
- You placed orders for enough kits to make 4,000 – 5,000 prayer strands!
- You organized local gatherings to make prayer strands, spreading the news of this new (ancient) prayer tool.
- You completed and faithfully returned more than enough prayer strands for us to distribute at General Conference.
- You shared hundreds of prayer strands with your local churches and conferences.
- You prayed for General Conference 2016 and all who would be involved.
- You celebrated with us as General Conference attendees received, prayed with, questioned, and talked about their prayer strands.
And then General Conference was over and we all thought we were done. Right?
Not so much. Because as we have seen time and time again, the prayer beads take on a life of their own. People see them, they want them, they try praying with them, they want to make them, they want to give them as gifts. And so on. And so on.
So here’s what happened next: NOW THERE’S PRAYER BEADS AT JURISDICTIONAL CONFERENCES!
That’s right! People loved the prayer strands at General Conference 2016 so much that they went home and began talking about having them at the jurisdictional conferences as well. (A quick United Methodist Church (UMC) primer: General Conference is a global gathering of UMC representatives where folks vote on policy, while jurisdictional conferences are regional gatherings where UMC reps vote for new bishops. Both types of conference occur every four years.) As a result, we continued our work with The Upper Room to provide kits and make sure the jurisdictions had what they needed. By now, most, if not all conferences, are using the prayer strands in some way.
Jurisdictional conferences are all underway this week, so please pray for everyone involved. Good people are voting for other good people to be bishops and lead our church into the future. It’s a tough task that requires really listening for the movement of the Holy Spirit.
And thanks for everything you have done to support this effort to share prayer beads with our fellow Protestants. We are deeply grateful. And we are excited to see where God leads all of us next!