Upper Room Prayer Center plans to end call-ins
NASHVILLE, Tenn.––“After prayerful discernment, research, and evaluation of data”, the Upper Room Prayer Center plans to end its live call‐in ministry at the end of April 2019.
That’s the report Migdiel Pérez, manager of the Upper Room Living Prayer Center, gave to the conference presidents of UM Men and conference prayer advocates, meeting March 7-10.
“The Upper Room is shifting its focus to the online prayer wall in order to support people in their preferred ways of communicating and experiencing community,” said Pérez. “One post on the prayer wall leads to hundreds of others praying for a request by name and need. While the live phone ministry is available only to U.S. callers, the online prayer wall allows for a global ministry.”
Opposition to plan
“Don’t announce that the live call-ins will be ended,” said Wallace H. Neal, national prayer advocate for UM Men. “We are going to find a way to continue this ministry.”
Kara Lassen Oliver, executive director of The Upper Room Center for Christian Spiritual Formation, explained the prayer line annually receives 111,000 calls, but only 20,000 receive answers. “You’re not doing anything wrong,” she said. “But we have to ask, ‘Are we promising something we aren’t delivering?’”
Neal thinks the conference prayer advocates can increase the number of volunteers.
When the announcement was made to the National Association of Conference Presidents, several men shared their experiences, noting that the calls were meaningful to both the person requesting prayer and the person responding.
“I received a call from a father whose son was attempting suicide,” said Hank Dozier, president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction UM Men. He said posting prayers on a website in a situation like this would provide little help.
“We’re proud of this ministry and the places it has led us––from reclaiming the importance of intercessory prayer, to the creation of sacred, welcoming prayer space for people of all walks of life,” said Pérez. “Both laypersons and clergy have had a safe and confidential space in which to share their deepest needs in prayer. Volunteers have prayed with callers on the prayer line for so many needs––current issues facing the church, chronic and terminal illness, addiction, interfaith hospitality, poverty, the restoration of relationships and more.”
Unless Upper Room officials reverse their decision, all future prayer requests will be posted to the Upper Room Prayer Center Wall.
“In today’s changing world of technology, The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is becoming alive in a new way,” said Pérez. “We received 670.000 prayer requests at the website in 2018.”
He invited conference presidents and conference prayer advocates to renew their commitment to the prayer ministry and to continue to serve as prayer volunteers.
“You have journeyed with us through changes in technology and the world,” said Pérez . “The hundreds of thousands of people who post on our prayer site continue to need your prayers.”
In 2018, 20 conferences contributed $16,456 to the Upper Room Prayer line. Western North Carolina Conference UM Men was the top giver with a contribution of $2,200.