At the 2011 General Conference, Bishop Keith Elford called the Free Methodist Church in Canada to a renewed observance of what John Wesley called “the means of grace.”
As Christians, we believe everything God has done for us through Jesus Christ is a gift of grace. Wesley believed that certain behaviours and activities, “means of grace”, are unique ways God uses to accelerate the work of grace in our lives.
The primary means of grace, as accepted by most churches, are attending public worship, prayer–private, family, and public, celebrating communion, fellowshipping with believers, personal and group study of God’s word, fasting, and abstinence. When we avail ourselves of the means of grace, we are opening ourselves to the action of God’s grace in our lives.
One of John Wesley’s contributions to the understanding of the means of grace is his view of them as relational. They help us develop and maintain an important balance between our relationship with God and the community of humanity. Wesley intended the means of grace to be an active part of the Christian’s daily life.
The means of grace work interdependently to form a necessary pattern for the Christian life. Some means of grace (community, prayer, mercy) encourage openness and sensitivity to the presence and identity of Christ. Other means of grace (fasting, repentance, sharing) counteract barriers to God’s presence.
There are the “General Means of Grace.”
- Universal obedience
- Keeping all the commandments
- Watching the saints
- Denying ourselves
- Taking up our cross daily
- Practising the presence of God
Acts of Piety:
- Prayer: private, public, family, intercession, petition; extemporaneous and written
- Searching the Scriptures by reading, meditating, and attending preaching
- Observing the Lord’s Supper
- Fasting and/or abstinence
- Christian conference with fellow believers
- Healthy living
Acts of Mercy:
- Doing all the good we can to all the people we can
- Visiting the sick and prisoners
- Feeding and clothing people
- Earning, saving and giving all we can
Throughout the coming year, we will be offering a variety of opportunities for us to learn about the means of grace and how to practice them in our daily lives.