Daily Prayer with Bishop Sandra: Advent and Christmas

Prayer is central to our lives and our relationship with God and neighbor. Join Bishop Sandra in this Advent and Christmas prayer journey - you will be blessed!

Watch this video to learn more about this call to prayer and discernment with Bishop Sandra.
Join Bishop Sandra for this time of prayer and reflection as we celebrate Epiphany! Bishop Sandra will share the traditional passage, from Matthew 2 and reflect on the journey of the magi as they sought the light that interestingly enough no one else in Jerusalem seemed interested in...hmmmm.
Are we too missing out on this great gift of God's light and love that IS Jesus? Who needs to hear a message of light and life this Epiphany season?

The Arts, music, and creativity are a gift each of us has inside of us. An unbreakable gift that brings joy to so many!

Today Bishop Sandra lifts up the creativity that is breaking out all over and encourages us all to explore how we may explore these gifts from God.

Bishop Sandra celebrates the churches that partner with agencies and mission projects to serve the needs of our neighbors.
Bishop Sandra also challenges us and our churches to consider the needs of our communities and how we can partner with others to provide a safe space, a caring space for all God's children.

Today Bishop Sandra lifts up and prays for, by name, the traditionally African American churches across the West Virginia Conference, their leaders, and other African American pastoral leaders. We are so grateful for their ministry and mission among us!

To read more about these congregations follow this link.

To see more pictures of our sister churches visit this link.

Today Bishop Sandra shares The Wesleyan Covenant Prayer and invites us to join her in these words:

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

Begin your New Year with Bishop Sandra as we pray for 2021 and all that is ahead of us.

Bishop Sandra reminds us that as we approach the New Year in faith, we get to be a part of a new song, a song of hope, new life, and light!

This morning Bishop Sandra is joined by her husband, Barry, to celebrate the new year - with a reflection on the role of the Shepherds in the Christmas story.
While Shepherds in Jesus' time were not well respected- God's favor was shown upon them as they were among the first to hear the Good News of Jesus' birth! God's love and favor are for all - and this is indeed the Good News of the season!
This week we continue to lift up those who provide care and support for our neighbors. Bishop Sandra visits Heart + Hand in South Charleston and prays for their continued mission and ministry.
We give thanks for all of the volunteers, donors and others who provide care and support for our neighbors.
As we move through the 12 Days of Christmas we pause in front of CAMC hospital to pray for all who are working to provide compassionate medical care for those who are ill, both those suffering from Covid-19 and those affected by other ailments.
Truly these are the heroes of this season. Be sure to reach out to thank those you know who work in the medical field.

The 12 Days of Christmas give us an opportunity to give thanks and to dream dreams.

Bishop Sandra visits the New Vision Depot and shares how big dreams continue to become a reality at one of our United Methodist mission projects.

This morning Bishop Sandra shares one of her favorite nativity crèches - take note of Mary and Joseph, and the stable too! Through these simple pieces of art, the story of Jesus' birth, life, death, AND resurrection can be told.

What is your favorite piece of Christmas art? What stories does it tell you about Jesus and our world?

He is Born!!

Advent gives way to the 12 Days of Christmas! This is a day full of opportunities to share the joy of Christ with everyone you meet...we are blessed to be a blessing!

Merry Christmas! Bishop Sandra shares the story of the birth of Jesus from Luke 2.

Join her in lighting the Christ candle as we celebrate the birth of Christ!

Good morning - it's Christmas Eve! Bishop Sandra shares from the Gospel of John Chapter 1 - and reflects on the gift of Jesus' presence giving light to this world - and together we sing; Joy to the world!
May this be a joyfilled day for you and yours!

Bishop Sandra invites us into her home to see some of the nativity crèches that she has collected over the years and she reflects on the miracle of Jesus' birth AND the multiplication of his teachings to and through cultures around the world.

Miracles, hope, the promise of new life...are all part of this morning's Advent prayer. How can you help someone discover that they are indeed a child of God?

You never know where your journey with Jesus might take you, but if you’re walking with God you’re on your way to gaining wisdom.

Today Bishop Sandra explores Proverbs 3 and God’s invitation and call for us to grow in wisdom.

Bishop Sandra shares this morning's Advent reflection at a prayer labyrinth. Walking a prayer labyrinth is similar to our own journey of Walking with Jesus: with a beginning and an end, twists, and turns, and companions along the way.

Today you're invited to ponder, meditate on how you can walk more closely with Jesus - and along the same lines, how can you invite someone else to walk more closely with Jesus?

This morning Bishop Sandra lights the fourth of her home Advent candles - and reflects on 1 Thessalonians 5 - with special attention to the Apostle Paul's command to be patient.

What does patience have to do with Advent? Watch and pray along with Bishop Sandra this morning.

My soul glorifies the Lord!
This morning Bishop Sandra reflects on Mary's song, the Magnificat, and in prayer invites us to consider how we might bring light, hope, and rejoicing to others this day.
Bishop Sandra asks, whats in a name, as she invites us to pray for our friends, family members, and colleagues by name. Why is this important? Consider that Jesus was given a name even before he was born, a name given to his mother by an angel!
During this time of prayer, she lifts up the names of her fellow bishops in the Northeastern Jurisdiction and shares how she prays for them each and every day.
How may we pray for one another this Advent season, by name?
Bishop Sandra revisits Cafe Appalachia and shares how they are a place of peace: a place that puts the needs of others first.
How can we too be peacemakers? How can we reach out and be the neighbor that Christ calls us to be to all?
We give thanks for the various outreach ministries that offer peace to their communities.

Using 1 Corinthians 12 as a text for reflection Bishop Sandra lifts up in prayer this day those who have the unbreakable gift of Administration, including our WVUMC Conference staff.

We give thanks for all who have the gift of administration - they are such an important part of the work of our church - from the local level all the way up to the conference center.

Who is it that you might write a thank you note to in this season of advent? Often they are not thanked enough for all that they do for us.

Today Bishop Sandra visits the gardens of Cafe Appalachia in South Charleston and invites us to reflect on the importance of sharing a meal with others.
How might you reach out to someone and break bread together, socially distanced of course, so that your spirits are uplifted and God is glorified?
Also keep in your prayers those who grow, transport, and prepare food such as Cafe Appalachia and the other locally-owned restaurants and farmers.
Bishop Sandra shares a reading from Luke chapter 1, sitting by her home Christmas tree. She reflects on how this Christmas season we are all in different stages of preparation - and that's ok!
Whatever stage of preparation you're in remember God's spirit is calling you to give yourself to this journey. What is it that you may need to do to further prepare to fully be the person (or the church) that God intends?

Bishop Sandra leads us in this morning's Advent candle lighting devotion with a reflection on humility and the connection between humility, joy, and love.

As you move into the new week, think about your relationships with others and ask yourself where you may need to be more humble: in your relationship with God and others.

Unfortunately, in this Advent season stories of loss are part of our reality. This is why it is so important for people of faith to witness to their faith, to share their stories of hope and trust in God.

Bishop Sandra challenges us all to work on our witness so that we may be a bridge for those who are facing loss. We pray, this day, for all who are facing job loss or have had their lives turned upside down in other ways.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.

This morning Bishop Sandra shares a moment of beauty and joy and invites us to find ways to do likewise in this Advent season.
What can you do to be a sign of beauty and new life in someone else's walk?
Bishop Sandra shares today's reflection and prayer from the sorting room at New Vision Depot, where Advent, preparation, is very evident.
What are you doing this Advent season to prepare your heart, mind, and soul to receive Christ once again?
And what could you do to be part of an advent ministry that prepares for when there is a need among God's people and a need in our communities?

Bishop Sandra visits New Vision Depot and invites us to pray for our Disaster Recovery Team, and for all of those who provide team support and share the unbreakable gift of hospitality.

To learn more about the work of our Disaster Response and Recovery teams and New Vision Depot please visit our website: https://www.wvumc.org/disaster-response/

Bishop Sandra gives thanks for the gifts of our children this morning during our time of prayer and she reflects on what a blessing it is to have the opportunity to walk alongside the children in our families and in our communities.
We have a responsibility to teach our children well. Together we can help everyone to grow and to live into the image of Christ. She invites us to consider: what can you do to help teach children, and adults, well?
This morning Bishop Sandra shares "In the Bleak Midwinter," one of her favorite Advent hymns.
As we give thanks for the gifts of the seasons - including the 'bleak midwinter' we are reminded of the gift of renewal that we see in the changing of the seasons.
Bishop Sandra also asks us to ponder; 'how can you give your heart in service and in love to Jesus Christ and to the people in this world who Christ gives us to love.'
Bishop Sandra leads us in morning prayer and the lighting of her at-home advent candles.
The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 1 is the scripture lesson for today - Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord - is our call, challenge and opportunity - for the one who prepares the way gets to be the bearer of Hope!
How can you be a messenger bearing the Good News about Jesus this Advent season?
The spiritual gift of service is another unbreakable gift, a gift that is offered graciously, that is done not for fame or recognition, but is done on behalf of others.
Bishop Sandra shares how she served tables from high school through seminary - and how that work helped to form her as a follower of Christ in this morning's daily prayer and reflection.
Today Bishop Sandra leads us in prayers of thanksgiving for the gifts of the Spirit...and those who have the gift of mercy, such as our healthcare workers.
In this Advent season, we are invited to hear God's call to be people of compassion and mercy.

Bishop Sandra shares this morning's reflection from her home office - and invites us to consider this Advent season as a time to reflect on those gifts that can not break. Gifts that are given by the Spirit.

These spiritual gifts give us a foundation for transformation, and the exciting thing is that these gifts of the Spirit work in and through us, and others, to bring about new life!

Bishop Sandra reflects on a passage from Matthew 6 in this Advent message and prayer.
What are the gifts that we can give in this season of Advent that won't break? That 'moth and vermin will not destroy, that thieves won't break in and steal'
What are the life long, unbreakable gifts we can give to make the world a better place for ALL?

On this World Aids Day we are invited to pray for those who live with HIV/Aids, those who have died from HIV/Aids, and those medical workers who care for a variety of illnesses and ailments.

Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility. Follow this link to learn more.

Today Bishop Sandra prays for musicians and the gift of music. Despite the restrictions placed on in person singing, music is a gift to be shared and a wonderful way to praise God.

Bishop Sandra shares some passages of scripture that lift up music, and musicians.

"I want to Walk as a Child of the Light..."

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and for most of us this Advent season is going to look very different - and yet, we can still celebrate advent anywhere... perhaps the bigger question is: How will we prepare for this season?

Are we ready to focus on forgiveness, sharing love, and self-examination so that we may all walk together better with Jesus?