There is a lot of business on the docket for the upcoming Annual Conference, but it will also be a time for celebration, fellowship, and prayer. To provide prayerful support during this time, the Iowa Conference United Methodist Men will be manning the Prayer Line, which anyone is welcome to call with their prayer requests.
“We are scheduled to answer the prayer line during the meal breaks on Saturday and Sunday. What happens is the calls to the Upper Room Living Prayer Center
will be re-routed to my phone, and we will be praying for these prayer requests that come in,” says Jim Smith of UM Men. “We will probably be answering a few dozen phone calls during each period. It depends on how many people call and how long they take to tell their story.”
The Nashville-based Upper Room prayer line was established in 1977, and the UM Men have been the main contributors to financing the prayer line over the years. Smith says that this will be the second time that they have done it at the Annual Conference. “We have done it at men’s retreats for probably 15 or 20 years,” he notes. “Not every year, but quite often at men’s retreats in Iowa, like before a conference rally or when we used to have overnight retreats, we would answer the phone and pray for those who are requesting prayer.”
He expects that most of the prayer requests they receive will deal with one of three categories: relationships, physical healing, or financial problems. “We will do absolutely no advising. We do absolutely no counseling,” says Smith, explaining the prayer line team’s approach to the ministry. “All we do is pray. If somebody requests a million dollars, we just lift up that request up to God. We make no judgement on it, we don’t make any comment. We just lift up the prayer to God.”
And the prayers won’t stop at the Annual Conference. “These prayer requests will be forwarded back down to Nashville, and they will then be forwarded out to other covenant prayer groups to continue to be prayed for,” says Smith.
They don’t know just yet where they will be located during the Annual Conference. “We’ll want someplace quiet. Since we have a cell phone, we can be quite flexible. It may be back in the corner somewhere, where there’s not much noise going on,” he says.
Smith explains that when answering phones, they prefer to do it for a minimum of a half hour at a time. So, for instance, in a two-hour meal break, they would ideally have eight volunteers to answer phones for a half hour each in pairs. “While one is answering the phone and praying for the prayer requests, the other partner is praying for the person who is praying. So there is prayer support for the person who is answering the phone, and normally they take turns.”
The prayer line needs volunteers, so if you would like to help, please get in touch with Jim Smith by seat location and send a note by one of the pages. You don’t need to have any experience, and he will advise on how to handle the calls.
“It doesn’t take a lot of training time. The main thing is to have a heart for praying for others.”