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Fireside chat, series one, Our Wesleyan Way: Prayer as a means of grace

By: Rev. Joel Winckler, Rev. Mark Erhmantraut, and Jane Hincks

In this episode, we talk about prayer as a means of grace. Joining Rev. Joel Winckler, the Northwest District Superintendent for the conversation are Rev. Mark Erhmantraut from Vincent United Methodist Church in Minot, North Dakota, and Jane Hincks a member of Legacy South United Methodist Church in Bismarck, North Dakota.

John Wesley taught that God's grace is unearned. To experience grace, we are to engage in the means of grace. Grace can be divided into:
Works of piety:

  • Some individual practices like prayer, reading and studying scripture, fasting, attending worship.
  • Some in community receiving the Lord’s supper and holy conferencing. 

The works of mercy:

  • Individual Practices - doing good works, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and giving generously to the needs of other.
  • Communal Practices – seeking justice, ending oppression and discrimination (for instance Wesley challenged Methodists to end slavery), and addressing the needs of the poor.

For United Methodists, prayer is a practice through which we experience the presence and grace of God. In prayer we open ourselves to the power of God's love that heals and forms us into the image of Christ. Prayer involves both speaking and listening… we talk to God and God talks to us.

Scripture references:
"Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.
 For everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door is opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, 
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NRSVUE

Key questions:

What are some ways you practice prayer individually?
How do you practice prayer in a community or with others?
What do you hear in Matthew 7:7-8, and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, about prayer or in other scripture?
How can we use prayer to build our relationship with God today?

Resources on prayer as means of grace:

Prayer as a means of grace: Steve Harper shares in Catlyst, a publication for Wesleyan Methodist seminarians and leaders about John Wesley and prayer as a means of grace. He states Prayer serves that purpose in our spiritual formation-the means given us to initiate and sustain our relationship with God.

The Means of Grace: Ministry Matters responds to the questions—
what are the “means of grace”? What does that phrase mean? United Methodists and other Methodists worldwide trace the phrase “means of grace” back to John Wesley. 

The Wesleyan Means of Grace: United Methodist Communications writes John Wesley taught that God's grace is unearned. As we look at the means of grace today, they can be divided into works of piety and the works of mercy.

Why do we Pray: Prayer comes in all shapes and sizes! Here's a quick look at WHY we pray. And make sure to check out the other two videos in this series, "What is Prayer?" and "How Do We Pray?" A video by Crossroads Kids Club.

Why Should We Pray: Does prayer make a difference? In this video, Michael Sherrard discusses how prayer is meant to be an avenue for meaningful relationship with our true Father, the Creator of all things. Want to learn more on this topic and others like it?

Skits Guys–Grace: In this conversation between Jesus and Peter, grace is illustrated when Jesus forgives the unforgivable. A video by Skit Guys.

Download a discussion or small group guide for this session.
Download an audio file of this episode.
View past episodes of Fireside chats.


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