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Candles in windows proclaim Baptists’ prayers for neighbors

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)–With electric-lighted candles in a window of their homes, Baptists in Oklahoma City are telling of their pledge to pray for their neighbors during the coming year.
The candles are a part of Capital Baptist Association’s “Light Your World” prayer and evangelism emphases for their Celebrate Jesus 2000 initiative.
Launched by associational director of missions Ernie Perkins and his wife, Wanda, the candle-in-the-window project, based on Matt. 5:14-16, has spread across denominational lines and outside the 55-church Capital association and Oklahoma.
Pat Oltermann, Perkins’ secretary, said more than 5,000 candles were ordered through the association. “We have 16 churches outside the association, including four non-Southern Baptist congregations taking part,” she said. Additionally, churches in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Virginia and South Carolina have contacted the association about the project.
Perkins said he believes lost people become concerned over their lostness in direct proportion to the concern they see reflected toward them by Christian friends.
“If that is true, it means that until Christians become concerned, the lost won’t be concerned about themselves,” he said, noting, “the candle in the window is a tangible expression of Christians’ concern for lost neighbors.”
The greatest motivator for concern is prayer, Perkins added, and Christians who will commit to pray for their neighborhoods should be bold enough to let others know of their prayerful concern.
In addition to the candles in the windows, participants will also display a sticker on their front door telling of their pledge to prayer.
“Everybody who comes to the front door, the postman, the delivery persons, anyone, will be made aware that that is a house of prayer,” he said.
The candle project, which began Oct. 1 and will continue through Sept. 30, 1998, is part of the Celebrate Jesus 2000 unified effort by many denominations to share the gospel with every American by the year 2000. This year has been proclaimed the year of prayer, with 1998 to emphasize private witness, 1999 to focus on proclamation via revivals and crusades and 2000 to be a year of preservation, discipling the converts.
Capital Association has made posters, clip art and other promotional materials available to churches, both Southern Baptist and others.
Perkins is taking the prayer effort a step further.
“I’m going to use a criss-cross directory to find out names of the people who live in the 115 houses within the one-mile circle I jog most mornings,” he said. “Then, I’ll write four neighbors a week, sharing that as I jog past their house I will be praying for them.”
Perkins joked that at his jogging speed, the prayer may be a bit long.
He said he would include his phone number so his neighbors may contact him with special prayer needs.
“This candle-in-the-window prayer campaign has the greatest potential of anything we’ve done at practically no cost,” Perkins added.
“If we believe what we say we do about the power of prayer, we shouldn’t be ashamed to let our neighbors know it,” he said.

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  • Bob E. Mathews