A Moment for Mission
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’” ––Luke 11:1, NIV
In the 1960s, a three-minute long-distance telephone call cost $1.70 (about $12 in today’s money). Evening calls were cheaper, but even then, people only made important calls, and conversations were brief.
At that time, the Upper Room Prayer Center established a WATS (Wide Area Telephone Service) line. That phone line enabled people across the U.S. to make toll-free phone calls to the Nashville-based ministry.
United Methodist Men paid for the WATS line, and groups of men across the nation received remote calls and spent hours praying with those who called the 24-hour service.
Men received prayer requests from a father concerned about a son struggling with drug addiction, a woman caught in a domestic-violence situation, a mother worried about her son stationed overseas, and a brother concerned for a sister about to have a serious surgery.
The men provided understanding and prayed with each caller.
With the introduction of cell phones, the WATS line was no longer needed, but the need for prayer continued.
In 2018, the prayer line received 264,940 prayer requests. Many were fielded by United Methodist Men.
In 2019, the Upper Room Prayer Center moved from phone to online prayer requests. While men miss the personal contacts, they do not miss opportunities to respond to people who post prayer requests on the Upper Room Prayer Wall. They pray and post their responses.
We know that prayer is the strongest defense against racial violence, civil unrest and individual suffering. We turn to you, O Lord, when other efforts seem futile and unproductive. Amen.
From Discipleship Resources: Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost – God of all good gifts, you have provided all that we need for full lives, and yet we don’t stop there—we continue to fill our lives with things in an elusive search for security. As we bring gifts to you this day, remind us that only deeper faith will bring peace, and good works—caring for others through generous giving—will help us know the joy of full lives. We pray this in the name of Christ, who gave all out of love for all your children. Amen. (James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17)
United Methodist Men have become the prayer warriors of the denomination.
With prayer advocates in every annual conference, the men have supported the Upper Room Living Prayer Center for decades.
Initially, United Methodist Men provided funds for phone lines and frequently answered urgent prayers on remote prayer lines. Today, United Methodist Men organizations pray for people who post prayer requests on the online Upper Room Prayer Wall.
During the pandemic, United Methodist Men found ways to pray together when they couldn’t be together. Each of the five U.S. jurisdictions sponsored three-hour virtual prayer sessions where bishops, clergy and laymen offered Scripture readings, meditations and prayers.
During time of racial strife across the U.S., United Methodist Men joined with leaders of men’s ministry organizations in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church Zion and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church for a virtual three-hour prayer session.
Through the World Service Fund, you support the General Commission on United Methodist Men. Thank you!
Rich Peck, General Commission on United Methodist Men