What do United Methodist Believe?
The Wesleyan Means of Grace
Courageous and forward-leaning mission congregations practice spiritual disciplines. Our vital work is a spiritual adventure based in John Wesley’s means of grace. John Wesley taught that God’s grace is unearned and that we were not to be idle waiting to experience grace but we are to engage in the means of grace. The means of grace are ways God works invisibly in disciples, hastening, strengthening and confirming faith so that God’s grace pervades in and through disciples. As we look at the means of grace today, they can be divided into works of piety and the works of mercy.
Works of Piety
Individual Practices – reading, meditating and studying the scriptures, prayer, fasting, regularly attending worship, healthy living, and sharing our faith with others
Communal Practices – regularly share in the sacraments, Christian conferencing (accountability to one another), and Bible study
Works of Mercy
Individual Practices – doing good works, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, and giving generously to the needs of others
Communal Practices – seeking justice, ending oppression and discrimination (for instance Wesley challenged Methodists to end slavery), and addressing the needs of the poor
Making disciples, growing vital congregations and transforming the world is part of a spiritual adventure that is empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit as churches engage in the means of grace. Spiritual goals are accomplished by connecting the means of grace with proven vital church practices such as planning, strategic direction, prioritization, clear focus and alignment.
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John Wesley’s answers to some questions about the Means of Grace (paraphrased)
1. What is Grace?
The Power of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to behave and love and serve God.
2. How are we to seek this?
In a constant and careful use of the Means of Grace.
3. Which are the chief Means of Grace?
The Lord’s Supper, Prayer, Searching the Scriptures, and Fasting.
4. How often should Christians receive the Lord’s Supper?
Every day. It is their daily Bread.
5. How often should they join in public Prayers?
Twice a day, as many of them as could.
6. How often should they use private Prayer?
Every Morning and Night, at least.
7. How did should search the Scriptures?
They should hear or read them every Day, and meditated therein Day and Night.
8. How often should Christians fast?
Every Wednesday and Friday till Three in the Afternoon.
9. How long is every Christian to use all these Means of Grace?
To his Life’s End.
For an edited version of Instruction for Children by John Wesley SEE instruction-for-children John Wesley