Most United Methodists need a spiritual revival! If that is true of you or your church, what does revival look like, and how do you prepare for it?
Revival is always by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, prayer becomes an important practice in seeking to find that new life that we seek. Many of us have our regular prayer routines, such as grace before meals or the prayers offered in our weekly worship services. I hope each of us has a daily prayer routine as well. Have you thought about adding the revival of yourself, your congregation or the whole United Methodist movement to your daily prayer list?
What may be called “the Wesleyan way” says that God’s grace is always available to everyone, but there are specific practices that are the ordinary means of grace by which we connect with God and God’s power. Weekly worship, daily prayer, daily Bible Study, a small discipleship group and Holy Communion are all named by Wesley as means of grace. Have you thought about being even more regular and faithful in these practices?
I also believe that getting specific about the goal of your prayer is helpful. With regard to yourself, have you named the places in your heart and mind that need spiritual healing or power? The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). For which of these do you need God’s help?
Jesus said that the hallmarks of his disciples are that we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, heal the sick and visit those in prison (Matthew 25:34-40). In which of these areas do you need to experience renewed power from God? Do you need to be giving God more of your time, talent and money than you do now?
With regard to your congregation, its mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. That means we need to find people who don’t yet know the Lord or have not yet found a church home. We need to share our faith with them and invite them into the Wesleyan way of salvation.
We need to offer weekly worship as a means of grace. We need to offer Sunday school and other small groups to help people grow in their faith. We need to be the loving community that so many people need in our current society. And we need to send people out to live justly and lovingly to transform the world (Book of Discipline ¶¶120, 122).
Where does your church need to find new power to help people along the Wesleyan way? Are you praying for your congregation?
With regard to the whole United Methodist movement, our job is to increase the number of vital congregations. Vital congregations are fruitful in making disciples. We can do that by strengthening our existing congregations or by starting new ones.
We especially need to reach Hispanic people and other newcomers to our country. We need to raise up a new generation of Christian leaders through our camps, campus ministries, colleges, seminaries and leadership-development systems. Are you praying for a new generation of leaders? Are you giving encouragement to leaders and to people who might be called into full-time Christian ministry?
I firmly believe that the Wesleyan way is a biblical and fruitful approach to following Jesus as a disciple. We in The United Methodist Church have a great inheritance in our doctrine, our discipline and our sense of mission. Let’s pray for revival.