News Articles

Fanning out across New Orleans, 200 Baptists came to pray

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–The fleur de lis — a lily long associated with the city of New Orleans and French royalty — appropriately adorned the shirts of approximately 200 people who came to New Orleans from various parts of Louisiana and a few other states to pray for spiritual strength and renewal in the ailing city.

Wayne Jenkins, director of evangelism and church growth for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, and Dick DeBusk, LBC prayer strategist, organized the prayerwalk in conjunction with the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans.

Jenkins designed the participants’ shirts after a shirt used in New York City following the 9/11 disaster. “People would come up to us when they would see the T-shirt and say pray for us. So we would have a great opportunity to pray for them and give them a Gospel tract,” he said.

Jenkins described prayerwalking as, “Praying on-sight with insight.” He encouraged participants to look for opportunities to provide spiritual or physical help to residents they encountered while prayerwalking through neighborhoods.

One group, made up of members of First Baptist Church in Kenner, in the course of a conversation with an elderly woman, learned of her need for a new cane. The team prayed for the woman and went back to their church to share the need with a minister. The next day they returned to provide the woman with the cane she needed.

Another group, led by Sherri Ingram, prayer coordinator for the Greater Baton Rouge Baptist Association, encountered Matthew who considered himself “pretty blessed” yet said he was certain he would not go to heaven. When asked why, he stated, “Because I’m mean.” The man did not begin a relationship with the Lord; however, he was willing to receive a Gospel tract and he committed to attend a block party held at Calvary Baptist Church.

Tony Merida prayed for Stacey, who recognized him as the pastor of First Baptist Church in Kenner. She told Merida that she came to church the previous Sunday because a chainsaw team, sent from his church, removed a tree from her home. She asked for prayer for her brother, whose home was severely damaged, to be able to return home for the Thanksgiving holidays.

Jennifer and Caleb Smith, the wife and son of Pastor Scott Smith of Highland Baptist Church in Metairie, met a young man who lost his home in Waveland, Miss. While evacuated to Virginia, the man went into the woods to pray and felt a presence like someone watching him. When he looked up, he noticed a section of a tree that looked like two eyes watching him. He cut down the section of the tree and made a walking stick. He said it served as a reminder that God was watching over him.

Scott Smith, during his prayerwalk, saw the magnitude of personal tragedy that families are facing when he walked by a funeral home, which had three refrigerated trucks to house the bodies of the dead until the families could make arrangements. “There is such a backup of people waiting to be buried because a lot of the funeral homes are not up and running yet,” Smith recounted. He stopped to pray for those families that will be making the arrangements to bury their loved ones in the days to come.

David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana convention, made a special trip with Merida to pray for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, Edgewater Baptist and other churches in the hard-hit areas of New Orleans East.

A team led by Jenkins met Jason who was sitting on the sidewalk eating a free lunch. Two members of the team shared with Jason that they were praying over the city and wondered if he had any needs for which they could pray. Jason began to weep as he poured out his heart. After the team prayed for Jason, he said, “It is no accident that you are here praying for me.” Jason inquired about where he could attend church in New Orleans and the team gave his name to a local pastor for follow-up.

Before the teams began the prayerwalk, Joe McKeever, director of missions for the New Orleans association, prayed, “May we be an answer for this city and not another one of her problems.” Those who were touched during the prayerwalk would say McKeever’s prayer was answered.

    About the Author

  • Staff