Dear Friends in Christ,

A blessed First Sunday of Christmas and a joyful New Year to each of you!

2018 is the Year of Prayer, and my prayer for the new year is that we grow strong in the practice of Daily Prayer. Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith;

Prayer and Scripture are the foundation stones for a life of discipleship.

2018 will be devoted to prayer.

Our Year of Prayer memory verse will be Philippians 4:6 “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”. When we are in each other’s company, I would love to hear you recite this beautiful verse.

Below are 2 books that I wish to commend to you in order that you may prepare to lead the Year of Prayer in your families, parishes, and communities.

  1. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard Foster.

This is a classic primer on prayer, where Pastor Foster introduces us to 21 different forms of Christian prayer.  He divides his bestselling book into 3 parts:

Part One, Moving Inward: Seeking the Transformation We Need;

Part Two, Moving Upward: Seeking the Intimacy We Need;

Part Three, Moving Outward: Seeking the Ministry We Need.

I encourage you to pick up a copy of this inspiring book on prayer.

  1. Grounded in Prayer: A Small Group Training Guide for Congregational Prayer by Brent Dahlseng.

This 6-week congregational study can be used to start a new prayer team, strengthen an existing prayer ministry, or serve as a parish-wide Lenten discipline.  When I first met Pastor Dahlseng, he was serving in the Division for Congregational Ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He currently serves as the lead pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Loves Park, Illinois. He will be our keynote speaker at the Sawmill Creek Rostered Ministers Gathering on January 16-18.

I encourage you to also pick up a copy of this transformative book on congregational prayer.

I trust that all of our pastors and deacons have received a copy of the

Daily Texts 2018. I have used this resource for the past couple of years and have found it to be an important part of my daily prayers.

Please use the Daily Texts 2018 to strengthen your daily prayers. Finally, be sure to check your e-mail this Saturday, January 6, for a special Epiphany gift.