Recently, the United Methodist Men met in Nashville where the Louisiana Conference received significant recognition for raising the highest total in the country, $5,120, for the Upper Room Prayer Line.
United Methodist Men has been supporting the prayer line ministry for 40 years with a total contribution over $25,000.
Migdiel Perez, manager of the Upper Room Prayer Line, expressed appreciation to UM Men for 40 years of support to the ministry that receives prayers from around the world.
Migdiel told 75 participants in the Feb. 22-25 meeting of the National Association of Conference Presidents (NACP) and 13 conference prayer advocates that there are now 172 remote prayer line partners who answer prayer requests and 494 Covenant Prayer Groups who continue in prayer for those who call in.
One of the strongest supporters has been Louisiana's very own Joe Kelley who has seen the prayer line expand over the years from a simple 1-800 number to an online presence with an abundance of resources.
Kelley is thrilled to have not only seen it grow and help in its growth, but to spearhead the financial backing here in Louisiana.
"Prayer is absolutely top shelf. It's the number one thing, in my book," says Kelley, who has recently been named the new President of United Methodist Men for the South Central Jurisdiction.
Kelley remembers the floods of last year and how the prayer line helped thousands of people. "In fact, you can track disasters in this country based on the prayer line because one of the first things we ask is where are you calling from? We can pretty much pinpoint where a disaster is happening just on the volume of prayer requests from a certain location."
Joe Kelley, known for his huge smile and a greeting that has become iconic, 'has anyone told you they love you today?' has been drawing others into a relationship with Christ for years.
"It's all about drawing more men to Christ," he says. "We have to be in the disciple-making business and for me, that starts with getting the Daddy's in church. We just have to love 'em and encourage 'em."