October 2010 Newsletter

Dear Friends in Christ,

Prayer is at the heart of our Christian walk. Our Lord Jesus was a man of prayer. He rose early before dawn to go to a lonely place to pray. He prayed at his baptism and was anointed with Holy Spirit. He prayed in the wilderness of temptation to have strength to resist the evil one. He taught his disciples how to pray and told parables intended to purify their spiritual lives. He invited his core disciples apart on a mountaintop to pray and there he was transfigured before them. He prayed with anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane for God's will to be accomplished through his sacrifice. Jesus offered prayers of forgiveness as he suffered on the cross. And he prayed at his death for the Father to receive his spirit. Jesus sets us the example of being in communion with the Father and living a life of constant prayer.

The apostle Paul in his ministry to the early Gentile churches begins almost every letter with a prayer of hope and thanksgiving for the life of the congregation. He prays with gratitude for the saints in Rome. He offers prayers of thanksgiving for the grace of God that has been revealed in Christ Jesus to the church in Corinth, offering petitions for unity among the believers in that place. He lifts blessings and praises for God's work in Jesus Christ, expressing love and concern for the Christians in Ephesus. He raises constant prayers for God's people in Philippi that God might complete his good work in them to God's praise and glory. Prayers of thanksgiving and petitions of concern are the backbone of Paul's ministry among the churches, among the early followers of Jesus Christ.

Still today, prayer is what keeps us in close communion with the Lord. Prayer is what sustains our spirits and eases our fears. Prayer is what gives us strength in times of trouble, while opening us up to new possibilities when obstacles loom before us. Prayer draws us closer to God and to one another. Prayer allows us to seek help for ourselves and be advocates for others. Prayer empowers us for the tasks God calls us to do. Prayer open our eyes and ears, our hearts and minds, so that we can perceive God's hand at work in our midst. Prayer is critical to our physical, emotional and spiritual health. Prayer is essential to the vitality of the church and the salvation of the world.

In Philippians 4:4-6, Paul writes: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Paul urges the Thessalonians to "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thess. 4:16-18) Paul goes on to make this simple request of his brothers and sisters in the faith. "Beloved, pray for us." (1 Thess. 5:25)

This month, on October 15, you are invited to share in a special opportunity as the Fishkill United Methodist Church comes together in prayer, to give thanks to the Lord, seek God's blessing on our ministries, and reach out for God's guidance and support. We who love the Lord and who desire to serve God faithfully through this congregation are encouraged to participate in a prayer vigil for the vitality of Fishkill United Methodist Church - to pray for its faithfulness, its holiness, its obedience, its resources, its mission, its ministries. The vigil will run from 12 noon to 9:00 PM on Friday, October 15.

Devotional materials and a list of prayer requests and concerns will be available for participants. If you can offer an hour or half an hour to pray for the nurture of God's people, the growth and strength of Christ's church, and the needs of the world, please contact our worship chairperson, Merrilyn Paradiso (897-9771) to sign up for a time. Also if you have a prayer concern you would like to include at the vigil, please let Merrilyn or the pastor know. May you be blessed by sharing in this time of spiritual devotion and dedication to the Lord. Through these hours of prayer, may we seek God's will and wisdom, God's power and love, for the sake of Christ's reign.

Jesus was a man of prayer and he calls us to be people of prayer. The apostle Paul prayed ceaselessly for the welfare of Christ's church and urges us to do the same. May we hear Jesus' call. May we respond to Paul's invitation. May we each commit ourselves to the ministry of prayer for the sake of God's world, for the sake of Christ's followers, and for the sake of this congregation and its ministry in Jesus' name.

The peace of Christ be with you,

Rev. Peggy Ann Sauerhoff