The Methodist Church has been invited to join with other Christians to observe the worldwide Week of Prayer set for Jan. 18-25. The top officials are now encouraging the denomination's local congregations to pray for peace during the Week of Prayer.
The purpose of the Week of Prayer is to unite all Christians in a great demonstration of faith and to let God hear the combined voices.
"A world observance, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an important expression of ecumenical activity at the local level," states the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious website.
One United Methodist said, Peace is a "human requirement of living." Another said, "God hears and I believe that if you ask God sincerely from your heart He will answer. Maybe we'll see a change in this country and in all the nations." The cry for peace around the world is clear as the hostilities in the Middle East and Iraq continues.
One Methodist earnestly prayed, asking the Lord God to "change things" and "to bring peace into every heart."
The Week of Prayer was initiated in 1908 by the Rev. Paul Wattson of an Episcopal Church, and it has since seen over 90 years of observance.
A letter was sent from the offices of Bishop William B. Oden, ecumenical officer for the denominations Council of Bishops, and the Rev. Larry D. Pickens, Executive of Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, to bishops and other church leaders asking them to encourage participation in this annual observance.
When UMNS asked for his opinion on the latest UMC worldwide prayer effort, the Rev. Larry Pickens emphasized unity, especially unity. He said, "We see this as an opportunity to pray, for United Methodists to join with Christians around the world as we pray for peace."
In addition, he emphasizes the large-scale nature of this act of solidarity. "This is an endeavor that engages the entire ecumenical community. We do this with our brothers and sister around the world."
However, peace is at the center point of this event, and it is mentioned by the Rev. Pickens. "Its also an opportunity for us to engage other Christians who are engaged in peace, so we encourage United Methodists to pray in the week of pray for Christian unity."
In just a few short weeks, after the holidays have passed, the world will observe this beautiful act of prayer to God for world peace united by the Christian faith. Every year there is a theme for this week of prayer. This time, the theme is "All Things are Yours You Belong in Christ and Christ, the Unique Foundation, Belongs to God," reflecting Pauls letter to the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 3:1-23, an apt reminder that Christ is the center of Christianity, and all Christians are the children of God, making it clear that all glory belongs to God.
Unity is important and is noted continuously by the top officials of UMC. Pickens said. "Christians across the world will come together in celebration of our unity in Christ."
Churches in Slovakia came up with this years theme, and they were appointed by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (UMNS).