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Acteens, at state capitol, engage in
wide-ranging time of intercession

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–More than 6,500 teenage girls, gathered for the National Acteens Convention in Nashville, assembled for a prayer rally at the Tennessee State Capitol July 30 to pray for Nashville, the state of Tennessee, the nation of America and the world.

Acteens is a missions organization for girls in grades seven through 12 sponsored by Woman’s Missionary Union of the Southern Baptist Convention. The national Acteens meeting has been held approximately every five years since 1972.

The girls, meeting at the Nashville Convention Center, marched a designated route to the state capitol, where they sang praises to God and prayed for His blessings to fall.

Nashville’s mayor, Bill Purcell, welcomed the girls to the city and said he hopes they enjoy the hospitality and the environment that is unique to Nashville.

“I also want to tell you how proud I am of the goals you have while here in Nashville,” he said. “I believe it could be the beginning of a lifelong journey of making a difference.”

The girls will fan out across the community July 31, helping to prepare 68 schools for the return of students by unpacking books, painting, cleaning school property, beautifying school grounds and distributing backpacks full of school supplies.

“You need to know that the director of our public schools, Pedro Garcia, myself, all of the faculty and, most importantly, all of the parents and 70,000 Nashville school students will be touched and changed because of what you are going to be doing in those schools,” the mayor said.

Purcell also said as he stood on the stage and looked over the crowd, he saw an incredible outpouring of people and spirit and goodwill that means more than he could express.

He then read the Acteens theme verse for the week from Habakkuk 1:5, which says, “Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your day that you would not believe even if you were told.”

In closing, the mayor said that as the girls work in the schools they may feel like the tasks they are doing are so small and individual but actually will cause ripples to spread across the city, the state and the country.

“You will in fact, I believe, be living that Scripture and for that the people of Nashville are very thankful,” Purcell said.

First Baptist Church of Nashville is the host church for this year’s Acteens meeting, and Linda Leathers, minister to singles at the church, led the girls in a prayer for Nashville and Tennessee.

Leathers noted that there are 6 million people in the state and thousands who visit daily.

“Please, Lord, use us to take your Gospel of good news to these people,” she said.

Leathers also led in prayer for Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, the state representatives, senators, office workers and judges. Then she prayed for the 550,000 people of Nashville and for the mayor.

Janet Hoffman, president of national WMU, reminded the girls of one of her favorite hymns which says, “Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear; All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

Prayer is truly the greatest work the girls can do, Hoffman said, and then she led them in praying for the United States.

“We pray, Father, for our nation. We pray for our president, George W. Bush, that you would give him wisdom in making decisions and choices that affect not only our nation but all the world,” Hoffman said. “We pray for our congressmen, our senators. We pray for each of those who serve on the Supreme Court, that each of them would have discernment to think beyond themselves and the sensitivity to make the choices which would be your choices.

“We pray for our servicemen, from the generals to those in the lower ranks,” Hoffman continued. “We pray that you would protect them. Lord, they’ve gone in order to protect somebody else because they care so much for freedom, and we know that freedom begins with you. And so we pray that those who have gone to be protectors will be protected by you. Keep them safe, and bring them home.”

Hoffman also prayed for national missionaries and the North American Mission Board. She closed in praying for God to bless America with revival as He has so many times in the past.

Hoffman then instructed the girls to gather in clusters of 10 or 12 and pray for their home states and communities.

Twylia Bell, an International Mission Board worker in Tanzania, shared a story about God’s provision of food for Tanzanians when the expected rains did not come and they could not grow their crops. Then she led the Acteens in praying for the world.

“We pray for the countries that are in turmoil right now, that you would not just give peace because we know peace is not going to reign in the world — you’ve told us that — but that in the turmoil you would show your might and your power and what you can do,” Bell prayed.

In closing, girls representing different countries of the world prayed the Lord’s Prayer in their languages.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: GATHERING TO PRAY and WALKING DOWNTOWN.

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  • Erin Curry