In the upcoming Methodist Conference 2005 next week, a special prayer initiative Pray Without Ceasing will be launched. Through the campaign, all Methodist Churches across the UK will be involved in a 24-7 prayer by relay for 14 months with the aim to revive the heart for prayer.
Rev Michaela Youngson, Methodist secretary for pastoral care and spirituality, said in a press release, "Prayer is at the heart of the Christian experience. The Christian ideal is to be in relationship with God. Relationships thrive through mutual communication and it is in prayer that we can express our love for God and create space to listen to God's word to us."
The Pray Without Ceasing Programme was first suggested in the Methodist Conference last year. The aims of the programme are to celebrate prayer as a gift from God; to affirm prayer that is already happening; and to resource prayer by providing ideas and inspiration to help people pray in ways that are new to them.
In fact, many Methodist Churches in the UK have already been inspired by the non-denominational 24-7 Prayer movement, which encourages churches to pray for 24 hours a day for seven days. Currently, many more churches are trying to adopt this movement as one of the ways of joining in the Methodist Pray Without Ceasing initiative.
Rev Youngson added that even though prayer is very obviously a routine part in the life of a Christian, the Pray Without Ceasing programme will be an opportunity for people to look again at what they believe about prayer and have in their hearts.
The continuous 14-months prayer will be maintained as the 33 Methodist districts across the UK take a one-week or two-week period each, and in that period the churches in the district will cooperate together to make 24-7 prayer.
A website www.praywithoutceasing.org.uk was built to offer rich prayer resources for Methodists and all the other churches.
"Continuous prayer is not a Methodist invention and we celebrate the prayers of all Christians worldwide," says Rev Youngson.
"The priorities of the Methodist Church urge us to take seriously the need for God-centred worship and prayer. We have a rich tradition of liturgical and free prayer in which we express our devotion to God and bring before God the concerns of our churches and communities."
Instead of just praying for the Church itself, one of the highlighted prayer themes is the Make Poverty History campaign, which reminds Methodists of the needs of the world.