From the Worldwide Faith News archives

General Conference prayer room offers praise in a variety of styles

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Thu, 29 Apr 2004 16:56:55 -0500

April 29, 2004	      GC04-017

By David Malloy*

PITTSBURGH (UMNS) - A dark blue banner hangs outside the entrance to the
grand ballroom of the David Lawrence Convention Center. On the banner, in
gold letters, are the words, "Enter in, the veil has been torn." 

This is the invitation that greets General Conference 2004 participants to
the room designed for personal meditation and reflection.  

The General Conference prayer room is the product of many hours of planning,
preparation and prayer by the Western Pennsylvania Conference prayer ministry
team. It is meant to be a convenient, multisensory experience for all General
Conference participants and to encourage praise in a variety of styles.  

"If someone comes in with a concern, it doesn't matter if it is a delegate, a
bishop or a visitor; if someone comes and wants prayer, we will pray with
them," said Jaye Beatty, co-chairperson of the Western Pennsylvania prayer
ministry. "We have invited everyone, even the staff that works here, to come
and enjoy this area of rest and refreshment."  

More than 220 prayer delegates signed up before General Conference, some from
as far away as Singapore, to promote unity and to pray continually for the
participants throughout the duration of the conference. The prayer delegates
not only assist in the prayer room but also offer themselves as support for
the General Conference.

The prayer room is located on the third floor of the convention center. The
prayer room includes:

7	Seven different prayer stations designed to encourage meditation and
take those in prayer on a personal passage through the Psalms.	  
7	A prayer tent in the middle of the room, where prayer delegates are
available to pray one on one and minister to specific prayer concerns. 
7	Daily concerts of prayer designed to encourage praise in music.
Different local worship teams lead prayer and worship daily at 7:30 a.m.,
1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. 
7	An e-mail prayer request area. 
7	A "send-off" area to commission prayer delegates for prayer coverage.

Donna Zeigler, a member of Harmony-Zelienople Church in the Western
Pennsylvania Conference, designed the seven prayer stations and the prayer
tent. She designs living altars for her church. 

 "The designs for each station were Spirit-led," Zeigler said. 

The designs are elaborate recreations of themes from Psalm verses. At one
station, addressing brokenness, participants write on broken pieces of
pottery the things that have broken their heart or God's heart. They smash
the shards with a hammer and place the pieces in a vase, symbolizing Jesus
taking broken vessels and making them something beautiful. 

Another station addresses forgiveness. Participants are encouraged to write
on red paper those they are to forgive, nail the paper to a large wooden
cross, take a nail as a reminder and look into a mirror to see the
transformative power of forgiving. Other stations address repentance,
adoration, communion, guidance, refreshment and unity.	   

Beatty says the prayer room is a needed service to General Conference and
hopes all allow time to visit and pray. "General Conference is an intense
time. Many very important decisions are made, and we could all use prayer,
wisdom and help."

# # #

*Malloy is a United Methodist News Service correspondent and director of
communications for the church's Greater New Jersey Area.

News media contact: (412) 325-6080 during General Conference, April 27-May 7.
After May 10: (615) 742-5470. 


United Methodist News Service
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