Rallying the twenty-one churches of Rockcastle Association of Kentucky Baptists, Director of Missions Randy McPheron called for "21 Days of Prayer for Spiritual Awakening" last summer. An estimated two thousand people participated in praying daily for revival.
"As a new DOM, I believed we could accomplish more for the Kingdom if we came together," said McPheron, a longtime pastor who became the Rockcastle DOM a year ago.
"So, I presented the theme, 'Better Together: In Heart, in Hand, in Him,' and outlined our goals for a year. A segment of this vision called for a 21-church revival effort this fall."
Church members were given prayer guides that included a daily devotional written by each pastor in the association and a list of prayer needs for each church.
The 21 Days of Prayer for Spiritual Awakening were divided into three weeks:
Week one: "Serving Together" — churches handed out bottled water at a local fair.
Week two: "Seeking Together" — congregations met in groups of three churches each for prayer meetings.
Week three: "Celebrating Together" — a 21-church revival service was held August 21 at the Brodhead Fairgrounds.
The revival service kicked off with a block party featuring free food, inflatables, and face painting for the children, as well as door prizes. Church members prepared and served food, supervised children's activities, and directed parking for the event. Youth from several churches performed a skit and music was provided by the Fair Haven Quartet of Corbin, Kentucky. Andy Hale, pastor of First Baptist Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, brought the message.
Yet, God's movement was evident even before the revival service, McPheron noted.
"At Northside, we held a 45-minute prayer service before our Wednesday business meeting, and a man walked forward to receive Christ," said the DOM, who also is the interim pastor at Northside Baptist Church in Mount Vernon.
"When First Baptist (Church of Mount Vernon) and Mount Zion (Baptist Church in Brodhead) met to pray with Northside, two people professed faith in Christ," he added. "There was no sermon and no invitation song. We simply prayed and afterwards asked if anyone wanted to come to Jesus, and two people stood up in a crowded room of several hundred."
God also moved while McPheron was praying at home one evening, he recalled. He said he was particularly burdened by the health challenges his brother, John, pastor of Persia Baptist Church near Rogersville, Tennessee, was facing.
"As I was praying," he said, "my brother called to report that during a revival meeting at his church, twenty-five people professed Christ and there were seventy-eight rededications and one called to the ministry."
Another result of the prayer emphasis, one Rockcastle association minister pointed out, was a renewed interest in prayer by pastors and church members.
"It is our relationship with God, not our routine for God, which can bring real revival in our lives, homes, churches, and beyond," said Jon Burdette, youth pastor at Brodhead Baptist Church. "We must be desperate for Him to move in our lives instead of being complacent and content with just going through the motions."
"We must make prayer a priority," said Eddie Nation, pastor of First Baptist, Mount Vernon. "God brought a new unity to the Rockcastle Association of Baptists through this time of prayer."
"I needed to tap into my source — God," said Angie Mink, a member of Northside Baptist Church. "My prayer walk now focuses on holding my Savior's hand. I only want to see Him."
Even though the 21-day prayer emphasis has ended, McPheron said he will continue the call to prayer among Rockcastle Association churches.
"Spiritual awakening is America's greatest need," he said. "The problem with our churches is not unanswered prayer, it is unoffered prayer. I believe united prayer is the key to revival, so I plan to continue our emphasis on corporate prayer and make prayer the focus of everything we do."
The DOM said the association's prayer coordinator will meet with pastors and other church leaders weekly and that prayer gatherings are forming around the county. A discipleship training event this fall also will focus on prayer.
"Jesus taught us to pray by asking, seeking, and knocking," McPheron said. "Revival is ours for the asking."
Reprinted with permission from the Western Recorder.