Epiphany Gift
Dear Friends in Christ,
Welcome to 2018: The Year of Prayer
Our focus this year will be on God's gift of Daily Prayer. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we will strengthen the prayer lives of our leaders and equip our parishes to be places that are grounded in prayer. Prayer is a foundational spiritual practice and a cornerstone to building a life of Christian discipleship. Prayer has the power to transform people and communities.
A long time ago, a man named Nehemiah was called by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. In the Old Testament Book of Nehemiah, we read that before Nehemiah lays even one stone; Nehemiah prays. He prays for strength. He prays for protection. He prays for forgiveness. Nehemiah takes everything to the Lord in prayer. One of my "go to" Bible verses related to prayer is Philippians 4:6, and this will serve as our Year of Prayer memory verse. "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6). This powerful Bible verse captures God's desire for us to pray.   
Click on the links below to open a 6-session Bible study on the Book of Nehemiah. The links will take you to our website where you can access the Leader's Guide and the Student's Guide. Both are available in Microsoft Word and PDF formats. Please carve out a 6-week window in 2018 to share this Bible Study that focuses on the Prayer Life of Nehemiah. We have much to learn, and Nehemiah has much to teach us.

The study of God's Word is foundational for those who follow Jesus, so open your Bible, gather with a group of friends, get outside the 4 walls of the congregation, and learn what God (and Nehemiah) longs to teach you. But, be careful. Be very, very careful, because God's Word has the power to transform people and communities from who we are into the people and communities that God longs for us to be. 

During the time of Nehemiah, the city of Jerusalem experienced a remarkable transformation, as "brick by brick" a pile of rubble became a walled city; and "prayer by prayer", former exiles became a community of faith. At the dedication of the rebuilt city wall, Nehemiah records the response of God's people. " They offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. The joy of Jerusalem was heard far away (Nehemiah 12:43). May we also experience the great joy of God, the gracious love of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit to renew and transform our lives and communities. Prayer and God's Word has that power.

Let us pray: God of justice and joy, as we begin this study of the Book of Nehemiah may we be inspired by your love and transformed by your will to be built into the people you long for us to be. Lead us to grow strong in our daily prayer and in our love for you. This we pray in the blessed and holy name of Jesus. Amen

2018: The Year of Prayer Memory Verse

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".
Bishop Daniel G. Beaudoin
January 6, 2018
The Epiphany of Our Lord