"We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers..." (1 Thessalonians 1:2 ESV)

As a parish pastor, I would silently wonder if anyone outside our church prayed for us the way Paul and his companions prayed for congregations. We now have an opportunity to ensure each Ohio District congregation can answer that question in the affirmative.

"Prayers for the Parish" was launched on the Ohio District website earlier this year. Each week, petitions are offered for two to four Ohio District congregations. The "Prayers for the Parish" page is found under the "Congregations" tab and linked to each week's "E-Source" electronic newsletter.

"Prayers for the Parish" was primarily inspired by Scripture. We are called to "pray for one another" (James 5:16). Prayer is one way we fulfill God's expectations to "love one another" (Romans 12:10) and "bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2).

The need for "Prayers for the Parish" became clear as I have visited our congregations. Church leaders have shared with me a sense of isolation. It is a 425 mile drive between Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church - Antwerp, OH and Christ Our Savior of the Valley Lutheran Church- Alderson, WV. Yet, a congregation that is five miles from a sister church can still feel isolated.

Leaders at other congregations also said they feel almost overwhelmed by the challenges of day-to-day ministry. Still other congregations have asked how they could better support sister churches. Additional churches knew needs on circuit congregations, but were unsure how to identify needs beyond their area.

"Prayers for the Parish" addresses these needs and opportunities. I encourage our congregations to participate in this effort. Debbie Klusak, Administrative Assistant for Mission and Ministry, coordinates "Prayers for the Parish." When she contacts your church, please provide petitions that we can offer on your behalf.

The Lord's richest blessings upon you and your congregation this holy season of Lent.

President Wilson