Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-22-22

“No Newness Yet.”

You are the God who makes all things new,

We gladly raise our voices and move our lips

to acknowledge, celebrate, and proclaim

your staggering newness.

As we do so, we hold in our hearts

deep awareness of all the places where your newness

is not visible, and 

has not come.

Our hearts link to many places of wretchedness

short of your newness.

We picture our folks at home,

sick, in pain, disabled, paralyzed

and no newness yet.

We know up close the deep wretchedness 

of poverty, of homelessness, of hunger 

and no newness yet.

Move our hearts closer to the passion of our lips.

Move our lips closer to your own newness.

Work your newness in hidden, cunning ways among us.

Move us closer to your bodied newness in Jesus,

newness of strength come in weakness,

newness of wisdom come in foolishness.

Draw from the wretchedness we know

to his scarred, bloody wretchedness

that is your odd entry of newness into our life.

We pray in the name of his suffering newness. Amen

(WALTER BRUEGGERMAN | “No Newness Yet,” Awed to Heaven Rooted in Earth

Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-21-22

Broad-Shouldered God, we thank you for your son, Jesus Christ, who was willing to carry the burden of our sins. We struggle mightily to live fully into your vision for our lives. Though we answer your call–frequently with good intentions–how quickly we are distracted by fear, doubt, and uncertainty. As we journey with Jesus from the lakeside, to the sides of lepers, to the bedsides of the possessed, sick, and dying; to thoughtlessly switching back and forth between servant discipleship and selfishness–Lord, help us see only your transfigured image and hear your voice commanding us to listen. May we live each day of this Holy Lent with a faithful focus on the cross and an eager anticipation of the Glory that lies beyond its shadow. Amen.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-19-22

Prayer for resilience and repentance

Jesus of Nazareth, when you met the woman of Syrophenicia, you called her a little dog but he didn’t stop her. Little dogs need little crumbs, she said, and you listened., repented, and praise her for her words.

We praise her words too, and ask that we can speak like her, and listen like you. Because this is the gift of resilience and repentance. This just might save us. Amen.

(PADRAIG O. TUAMA – Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community: Canterbury Press, 2017)

Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-18-22

Gracious and Loving God,
We pause and bow in our spirits before Your great and awesome Presence.
We thank You for the gift of this day where we experience the wonders of Your glory.
We praise You for a love that won’t let us go, won’t turn us loose and won’t give up on us.
We thank you for Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
We thank you for the One who is Healer, Refuge, Deliverer, Strength and Comfort.
We thirst for Your Presence! Our souls are parched and dry without the anointing that flows from Your throne room of grace!
We will bless You as long as there is breath in our bodies, blood coursing through our veins, marrow in our bones and we are clothed in our right minds.
Help us to cling to the hem of Your garment for refreshing, restoration and resurrection that can only come from You.
We remember….and we repent…help us to be reconciled to our brothers and sisters and love them unconditionally.
Fix us and forgive us. Heal us and help us.
We rest our souls in the very palm of your hands…
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen


Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-17-22

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of God,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord have mercy;
Christ have mercy.
~ The Jesus Prayer

Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-16-22

Merciful God, enable our hearts to honor your Word over our many words. Help us to see where we have attached Your Word to our opinion rather than building our opinion on the foundation of Your Word. Forgive us for being quick to speak and slow to listen. Break through our carefully constructed walls of arrogance and pride so that we might put our full trust in You. For it is our desire to be perfect as You are perfect. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-15-22

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.


Building Bridges in the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference

Recently, I shared with you the news of the postponement of General Conference 2022 until May of 2024. There is significant disappointment across the Church with the news. For sure, there are implications of this delay, and the Council Bishops continues to consider the implications of this delay and how to lead in the coming two years until the General Conference will gather.

However, as I have reflected on this news, I have been reminded of the journey we have traveled together. Throughout our time together the conviction that has guided my leadership is this: nothing is sacred but the mission. In recent days, I have remembered the call God placed on my heart in 2012.  God has been calling me to build bridges across the Nashville Episcopal Area and to be the bishop of all persons.

I am serving in my 10th year as your bishop.  I remember well the joy and excitement Lynn and I had to become a part of the Nashville Episcopal Area and the promise of Greater Things about which Jesus spoke in John 14.

One of those greater things was the monumental task of uniting two conferences with histories, customs, memories, and relationships that were deep and vital. This work we have faithfully done and the TWK is  now 70+ days old. We are learning a lot; our team is adapting constantly to the changing landscape of the conference and the UMC. 

The Connectional Table has adopted four areas of focus for the work of the Annual Conference:

1.    Reconciliation

  •       Discover the work that God is doing to dismantle racism in TWK

2.    Resilience

  •       Discover what God is doing to increase resilience of spiritual leaders in TWK

3.    Response

  •       Create systems of response to Disasters that affect the TWK by setting up a Long Term Recovery organization and deepen our ability to respond quickly to disasters through church volunteer efforts

4.    Resurrection

  •       Pay attention to the ways God is helping us be the Church in a new day
  •       Collaborate with leaders and discover the assets that are available to grow new communities of faith
  •       Bear witness to God’s work of renewing and becoming the Church in the world.

As we think about our life together, I am drawn to John’s gospel.  In fact, if I look back over the last 10 years much of the teaching we have shared is drawn from the Gospel of John.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

The overarching task of the Church today is rooted in the evangelistic process of knowing, growing, abiding in Jesus Christ (John 15:5)

This work is Initiated by the Movement of the Holy Spirit.  It is through the movement of the Holy Spirit that we experience the Resurrected life which makes possible Reconciliation, Resilience, and Response.

Lay and clergy leaders all over the TWK conference are leading in ways that Christ is using to accomplish our mission.

Over the years as our two conferences worked to create the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference, people revealed a strength and resilience and a willingness to create a new conference in a season filled with disruption.  There have been multiple disruptions. And yet we practiced adaptive leadership, grounded in Christ, that led us through.

Two years ago, this week two things happened. One, my mother died and two, we shut down all our in-person worship services.  It’s been a hard two years. The journey since that time has been filled with challenges, confusion, adaptability. Our Pastors have been amazing front-line workers pivoting to worship in creative formats.

As you know, as we were saying goodbye to the legacy conferences we did so in a virtual way.

We did not have the opportunity to adequately celebrate and give thanks for who we have been.

As we have created a new conference, we have grieved the losses that we have experienced.

We will, at the first session of the TWK annual conference,  have a time of lament for the losses and for what we have been. Dr. Sharon Cox will lead us in this process of grieving.

We continue to lead adaptively as we experience multiple disruptions.

Regarding the announcement of the delay of General Conference, we have learned that some of our churches may want to leave the UMC. This will cause further disruption in our conference. 

I want you to know this:

  • my calling is to remain faithful to the United Methodist Church.
  • I believe that it is possible be a United Methodist and be faithful to orthodox, traditional, and progressive beliefs.
  • I am called to this work, and to a church that does amazing mission on behalf of God’s kingdom across this world. Even as I write these words, the United Methodist Church is on the ground in Ukraine and the United Methodist Committee on Relief is responding to humanitarian need through the leadership of Bishop Eduard Khegay. When we consider the disruptions, those we are experiencing pale in comparison to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

Here’s what I know:

“The United Methodist Church is founded on a Wesleyan theology of grace, anchored in Scripture, and based in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the continuing movement of the Holy Spirit.” – #BeUMC

  • We embrace the fundamentals of the Wesleyan tradition and dedicate ourselves to the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  • We embrace a Church anchored in Scripture and a theology of grace.
  • We embrace a Church that aspires to be a more just and inclusive force in the world. 
  • We embrace the connected power of 12 million souls united, working towards good in the world.
  • We embrace a Church that has uplifted our own lives and the lives of our friends, family, and those we cherish.
  • We embrace a Church built in loving relationships rather than uniformity in thought and action.
  • We embrace a Church where everyone does not have to agree and where everyone is welcome.

I recognize that not every person and not every congregation will choose to remain a part of our family. If that is the case, we have a process in place. Our process affirmed by the Conference Board of Trustees as guided by the recent Judicial Council decisions has reaffirmed paragraph 2553 of the Book of Discipline as a clear and fair process for churches who wish to depart from the denomination.  

Additionally, the Council of Bishops has asked for a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council regarding whether an annual conference can leave and join another evangelical denomination.

Gil Rendle reminds us that this season of leadership must be quietly courageous: cultivating hope that becomes wise through experience and is undaunted by disappointment, naming anxiety that does not unnerve us but reveals to us new ways to look at new things in the future, knowing that we have simple blessings that will see us through — health, food, sleep, one another, the seasons of God’s creative hand. These practices draw us close to the foundation that is our faith in Christ.

Our work is to be bridge builders as we bear witness to the love of God in the world.

A Prayer for the Church in These Times

O God, whose mercy is ever faithful and ever sure, who art our refuge and our strength in time of trouble, visit us, we beseech thee—for we are in trouble.

We need a hope that is made wise by experience and is undaunted by disappointment. We need an anxiety about the future that shows us new ways to look at new things but does not unnerve us. As a people, we need to remember that our influence was greatest when our power was weakest. Most of all, we need to turn to thee, O God, and our crucified Lord, for only his humility and his strength can heal and free us.

O God, be thou our sole strength in time of trouble. In the midst of anxiety, grant us the grace to count our blessings—the simple ones: health, food, sleep, one another, a spring that is bursting out all over, a nation which, despite all, has so much to offer so many.

And, grant us to count our more complicated blessings: our failures, which teach us so much more than success; our lack of money, which points to the only truly renewable resources, the resources of our spirit; our lack of health, yea, even the knowledge of death, for until we learn that life is limitation, we are surely as formless and as shallow as a stream without its banks.

Send us forth into a new week with a gladsome mind, free and joyful in the spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.

—William Sloan Coffin, Riverside Church

I invite you to join me in the work of building bridges across the rivers that bind us in the Tennessee Western Kentucky Conference.

Bishop McAlilly

Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-14-22

Loving God, we are now in the holy season of Lent where we
hear your invitation, “Come back to me,”
and we are filled with such a longing to return.
Listen to our prayers, listen to the pain in our cries. Help us this day
to have a theme song that is rooted in God’s love and justice.

Help us to refuse corrupting people and degrading things.
Lead us this day in good works in Your name
and send your Spirit to guide us and strengthen our faith.
God, listen! Listen to our prayer. Amen.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-12-22

I Cannot Do This Alone

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.

Help me to pray

And to concentrate my thoughts on you;

I cannot do this alone.

In me there is darkness,

But with you there is light;

I am lonely, but you do not leave me;

I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;

I am restless, but with you there is peace.

In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;

I do not understand your ways,

But you know the way for me….

Restore me to liberty,

And enable me to live now

That I may answer before you and before men.

Lord whatever this day may bring,

Your name be praised.



Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-11-22

O Lord,

Who never leaves.

You are here today with us.

You have been with us every day

and will be with us each and every day to come. 

We give thanks to you O Lord for your deep and constant presence in our lives 

that does not let go of us. Any of us.

We need you Lord this hour, this day.

It is only through your love and with your embrace that we can take each step.

We confess that we often refuse your embrace of transforming love

But Lord we know in our hearts and souls that our hope comes from opening our arms to receive you.

Lord, remove our confidence in our own righteousness.

Lord, remove our arrogance in thinking we are all-knowing.

Give us instead a heart of humility that embodies your grace.

We trust you Lord to create this work in us.

In each of us and all of us.

In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-10-22

Jesus, you shared peace around a table of anxiety, peace with the bread,

Peace with the wine, peace in the face of the uncertain, peace in the place of pain.

May we share tables of peace in places of pain, sharing food and friendship and words and life.

Because you came to a fearful world and found your place around those tables. Amen.

(PADRAIG O. TUAMA, Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community: Canterbury Press, 2017)

Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-9-22

Lord, please be Lord in and over me. Whatever tries to claim lordship in place of You, uproot it. Cast it from me. Free me, instead, for joyful obedience.

Savior, don’t let me put hope in anything that wind, fire, recession, or war can take away. If I have sought security in anything or anyone other than You, forgive me. Free me to trust You alone.

Abba, Creator of us all, let me hear again Jesus’ cry from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Teach me to do the same and free me to love and forgive as You have first loved and forgiven me. 

Master, let me have the mind of Christ, Who ‘humbled himself to the point of death – even death on a cross’ (Phl 2:8a). Free me from any human ambition that prevents me from praying, “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42b). 

Receive my thanks and praise for Who You are and how You continue to draw sinners to You. I ask this in the name of the One Who stretched out His arms and died for us all. Amen and amen.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-8-22

Forgiving God,

You have never failed to be merciful to us. In those times when we are at a loss to explain our own actions, you never abandon us. When we are distracted by many things, you invite us to a place of integrity and calm simplicity. When we have fallen into despair, you remind us that–in your eyes–our value is beyond calculation. When we are exhausted and spent, you call us to come and rest.

As a loving parent, you call us to accountability–encouraging us to lift our eyes and meet (fully) your gaze. In your face, we see the radiance of our Redeemer’s love and we lose ourselves in that radiance. Our harmful shame is transformed into an ever-growing desire to conform our own wills to your divine purposes.

Forgive us, Lord. Free us for joyful obedience. Draw us closer–in love– to you as you prepare for a place called Golgotha.

In the name of Jesus the Christ, we pray. Amen.


Daily Prayers for Lent | 3-7-22

O Lord and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of sloth, despair, lust for power, and idle talk.

But grant unto me, thy servant, a spirit of integrity, humility, patience and love.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not judge another.

For blessed art thou unto the ages of ages. Amen