NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Several prayer initiatives within the Southern Baptist Convention in the coming months reflect an expanding emphasis on intercession and seeking God’s guidance.
The first opportunity will be at the SBC annual meeting in Indianapolis June 10-11. Subsequent prayer efforts will be:
— June 11-13, sponsored by the Church Prayer Leaders Network and hosted at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C.
— Aug. 4-6, initiated by T.W. Hunt, author of “The Mind of Christ,” and hosted at Spring (Texas) Baptist Church.
— Sept. 23 to Nov. 2, a 40-day convention-wide emphasis for spiritual revival and national renewal sponsored by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the North American Mission Board.
— Oct. 11-17, “Broken Before the Throne II,” a sequel to the prayer conference initiated last year by West Virginia pastor Dan Biser. Westview Baptist Church in Martinsburg, W.Va., will host the gathering.
AT THE SBC
Believers are invited to gather an hour before each SBC session to pray individually or in groups of two or three throughout the convention hall. Prayer guides will be available, and topics for prayer include SBC leaders, pastors, messengers and the city of Indianapolis.
Also, a specified prayer room at the annual meeting will be a place for continual intercession, especially during times when business is being conducted on the convention floor and some individuals desire to serve by praying for God’s will to prevail. Signs will indicate the prayer room’s location in the Indianapolis Convention Center.
“So often we try to move God’s hands and don’t even ask what He wants done,” said Charlotte Jones, the prayer room facilitator. “It is absolutely critical that we seek Him while we make plans and vote on resolutions that will direct our convention.”
Additionally, signs and symbols will be posted throughout the convention center for a prayer journey. Believers can stop and pray at each station or pray as they walk along the prayer path at the convention center.
Still another opportunity is available for Southern Baptists who want to support the annual meeting with prayer but are not making the trip to Indianapolis — a virtual prayer walk. Visit www.crossover08.com for specific prayer prompts related to the convention’s annual gathering in June.
CHURCH PRAYER LEADERS NETWORK
The eighth annual session of the Church Prayer Leaders Network, a national organization with a goal of equipping all churches to become effective houses of prayer. The Empowered 08 conference, with the theme “Seeking Christ’s Glory … with Passion,” will convene June 11-13 at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C. People from across the nation are invited to attend. More than 40 workshops will be offered, along with public worship services each evening.
The workshops, primarily aimed at helping people with their personal prayer lives, will be led by Elaine Helms of the North American Mission Board, Chris Schofield of the North Carolina Baptist Convention and Elmer Towns of Liberty University, among others.
Jerry Long, minister of evangelism, missions and prayer at Shandon Baptist, told the Baptist Courier newspaper he has confidence in the prayer network to produce an effective conference.
“Our desire is to help provide an opportunity for believers all over South Carolina and beyond to have their walk with Christ empowered through learning how to be effective intercessors,” Long said.
The Church Prayer Leaders Network began in 1999 as the National Association of Local Church Prayer Leaders and in 2003 became a ministry of Pray! magazine, a bimonthly publication of NavPress and The Navigators.
Registration information is available at www.prayerleader.com.
PRAYER & DISCIPLESHIP CONFERENCE
T.W. Hunt, author of “The Mind of Christ” and other resources, will lead an “Answering the Call” prayer and discipleship conference Aug. 4-6 at Spring (Texas) Baptist Church.
“I think in today’s secular society and television, we are so preoccupied with the world around us that we lose sight of the spiritual,” Hunt told Baptist Press. “As a result, the Holy Spirit does not have a very big role in directing our lives. I hope to direct people to see beyond what their physical eyes can see and their physical ears can hear.”
Hunt said too often Southern Baptists have emphasized programs and methods to the neglect of effective prayer, and he said the conference organizers believe no one can bring revival but God.
“We want to get people to pray in order to get God involved instead of human talent, human wealth and human effort,” Hunt said. “We want to get God involved in bringing revival to us.”
Keynote speakers and workshop leaders include Frank Page, president of the SBC; James T. Draper Jr., former president of LifeWay Christian Resources; and Hayes Wicker, pastor of First Baptist Church in Naples, Fla., among others.
Even so, Hunt said the goal is not to emphasize names but to highlight God’s attributes and character.
“What we want to come out of it is the glory of God instead of the personalities of the speakers,” he said.
Online registration is now open at www.prayerconference.org.
CONVENTION-WIDE PRAYER EMPHASIS
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the North American Mission Board are partnering to promote a 40-day convention-wide prayer emphasis for spiritual revival and national renewal Sept. 23 to Nov. 2. The last 40 hours of the emphasis will include a prayer vigil from 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31 to 8 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 2.
“We will ask pastors to consider holding a special service for revival and renewal on that concluding Sunday,” said Barrett Duke, the ERLC’s vice president of public policy. “The object of the prayer vigil is to get Southern Baptists to let God do a great work in their lives and then for them to ask God to do a great work in our churches and our nation.
“It will also lead up to the Nov. 4 election,” Duke added. “Our folks will be encouraged to ask God to give them wisdom as they prepare to vote and also for God to guide the nation as we make one of the most important decisions facing this country, the election of our nation’s leaders.”
Though it is still in the planning stages, Duke said he envisions a strong Web presence for the emphasis, so that people can visit a website for prayer guides and to sign up for time slots during the concluding vigil.
“For the sake of our people, our churches, our convention and our nation, we must see a great moving of God,” Duke said.
BROKEN BEFORE THE THRONE II
Plans for a sequel to the West Virginia prayer conference initiated last year are in the works, Dan Biser told Baptist Press. “Broken Before the Throne II” is set for Oct. 11-17 at Westview Baptist Church in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Confirmed speakers include evangelism professor Roy Fish, author John Franklin, Bible teacher Al Wittinghill and evangelist Sammy Tippit.
“There is a need for a protracted period of time to wait upon the Lord and a need to receive power for the church today,” said Biser, pastor of Zoar Baptist Church in Augusta, W.Va., and Fox’s Hollow Baptist Church in Romney, W.Va.. “Our continued ineffectiveness and powerlessness is directly a result of our neglect to seek Him and wait before Him.”
Biser said the church in America has “lost the art of waiting upon the Lord,” and the idea that believers could ever serve God effectively without His hand at work is heresy.
“We have gone from where the old saints testified to long hours of prayer and mediation on the Word and being still before Him to one-minute devotions, one-chapter reading per day and 10-minute mediations filled with flowery sayings from man,” Biser said. “… The uniqueness of Broken Before the Throne is that it is a long duration of waiting upon Him.”
For more information, visit www.brokenbeforethethrone.com.
Erin Roach is a staff writer for Baptist Press.