WASHINGTON (BP) – Kie Bowman, who is helping the SBC Executive Committee develop a national prayer strategy, quotes a common saying of EC Interim President and CEO Willie McLaurin: “If we don’t make prayer our main business, we’ll soon be out of business.”
A diversity of Southern Baptists will join the nation in prayer on National Day of Prayer (NDOP) May 4, leading and joining in prayer events in churches, civic spaces, businesses and homes. The EC has released a one-page guide as a publicly available resource for the day.
“The prayer guide is based on this year’s theme and text for the National Day of Prayer but has been tailored to fit our unique interests as Southern Baptists,” Bowman told Baptist Press. “A guide is a prompt. It’s like a springboard to help us dive into prayer with specificity around those themes. It can be used, therefore, for personal or group prayer as we join millions of others around the United States in prayer.”
Southern Baptists “recognize the depth of the need in America,” Bowman said, “and the great opportunity to join our hearts with believers from many parts of the Christian family across the country, in urgently crying out to God for the Nation we love.”
“Pray Fervently in Righteousness and Avail Much” is the 2023 NDOP theme, based on James 5:16. The national observance will be livestreamed and broadcast on multiple outlets at 8 p.m. Eastern from the Museum of the Bible in Washington. Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, is among several ministers on program for the event.
Southern Baptist churches within and outside the traditional Bible Belt are among churches of various denominations hosting events.
At Epic Church in urban North Seattle, pastor Keith Carpenter will host a prayer gathering at 7 p.m. Pacific of the 20 churches in the interdenominational North Seattle United pastors’ coalition. The pastors are in the habit of gathering bimonthly for prayer.
“We’ve been praying in the city now for six years as churches, every other month, going around the city and praying at different churches,” Carpenter said. “This just made sense to put in what we’re already doing. We’re not trying to come up with something new.
“Our city and our country need some serious prayer and we need to turn to God in this time of national chaos. It really draws our churches and our ministries together, here in the city of Seattle. Praying together is really, really important.”
NDOP promotes seven pillars of prayer focused on the government, military, media, business, education, church and family.
First Baptist Church of Marlborough, Mass., will host a community-wide prayer gathering from 7-8 p.m. in downtown Marlborough, pastor Logan Loveday said.
“Our goal is to bring churches together across network lines for a focused one-hour prayer gathering. There will be no speakers, bands, or highlighting any specific church,” Loveday said. “We are working with the motto “no platforms, just prayer.”
The event will feature prayer stations at various points in the sanctuary where attendees can offer prayers focused on specific categories, praying aloud or silently, whether alone or in small impromptu groups.
“The churches in our city are very connected and do similar group things,” Loveday said, “but the goal of this is to join in spirit with others all over the country praying for specific requests. We know this will continue to build Christian unity and Gospel impact in our region.”
The NDOP is an official day on the SBC calendar, and prayer is an official ministry assignment of the EC.
“Prayer moves the hand that moves the world,” Bowman said. “In 2021 Southern Baptists meeting in Nashville gave the Executive Committee the ‘assignment’ of prayer – a special opportunity among all of our entities. We should thank God for that and maximize every opportunity to pray.”
Access the NDOP livestream here, catch the event on the NDOP Facebook page, watch the event on NDOP broadcast partners DayStar, GodTV, NRBTV and CBN News, or listen on the Bott Radio Network.
In addition to Graham, the national event will include host Kathy Branzell, president of the NDOP task force; cohost Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; noted pastor, author and ministry leader Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas; LeCrae; Barry Black, chaplain of the U.S. Senate, and others.