NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In an effort to promote supportive prayer among the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention, a new initiative called “Churches Praying for Churches” enables both individual believers and church prayer groups to pray not only for their own churches but for every Southern Baptist church during 2004.
Launched Jan. 1 by the SBC Executive Committee, the North American Mission Board and the Empowering Kingdom Growth Task Force, Churches Praying for Churches is seeking to link a network of churches in prayer to pray for God’s empowerment and engage them in His churches across the covention for Kingdom growth.
To be a part of the prayer effort, Southern Baptist individuals or church prayer groups may register online at www.sbc.net or by calling 1-888-PRAYER2. Registrants should provide their name, e-mail address and church identification number, which may be found by searching for their home church in the ChurchSearch database at www.sbc.net. Each registrant will be assigned a personal volunteer identification number.
Registrants can commit to pray for one to five Southern Baptist churches each week for 12 weeks, including lifting up specific requests presented by the sister churches.
“What could be better than to pray for our sister churches and their ministries, that God might bless them in a mighty way?” Morris H. Chapman, president of the Executive Committee, said in a sound clip at www.oneinamillionprayer.com.
Chapman was among the chief organizers of the prayer effort, drawing from his experience as pastor of First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls, Texas, during the 1980s. The church was giving 14 percent of its budget through Southern Baptists’ Cooperative Program, but church members began to pray about what more they could do in association with the convention.
“God led us to begin praying for each and every church, SBC entity, institution and state convention,” Chapman said. “I’ll have to tell you, it was one of the most exciting and fruitful and blessed experiences of all of my pastoral life. I can’t begin to tell you how God spoke to our people as they prayed and the reports of blessings around the nation. Now we have that opportunity in the convention.”
Churches Praying for Churches also allows individual churches to submit specific prayer requests, such as church growth, evangelism and mission opportunities or general prayer requests for the pastor, staff and members. Requests may be made at the same location as registration at www.sbc.net.
Many churchgoers are familiar with the passage from 2 Chronicles 7:14, which states, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
“I know that’s the prayer of every Southern Baptist for our nation and for our convention,” Chapman said. “Would you join us in this prayer effort? It could result in the greatest blessing which God would ever pour out upon this convention. May we pray for spiritual awakening, may we pray for revival, may we abandon self for the cause of Christ and just say, ‘Lord, I can’t, but You can help us reach this nation for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom.'”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: CHURCHES PRAYING FOR CHURCHES.