“When man works, man works. But when man prays, God works,” David Choi, pastor of Church of the Beloved in Chicago, told participants during a prayer gathering at Broadview Missionary Baptist Church in the Chicago suburbs.
Choi was one of several Illinois prayer leaders who helped facilitate the prayer gathering on October 7. The day-long prayer gathering was designed as a “Great Commission Prayer Experience” aimed at encouraging people to pray for the mission fields around them. The timing of the meeting, amid political turmoil and racial unrest, drove home the urgency of each of the five sixty-minute prayer sessions.
Using a “10-20-30 prayer model,” each prayer segment consisted of a ten-minute presentation of biblical, bold, and challenging material related to prayer; twenty minutes of facilitated table discussion; and thirty minutes of prayer, praise, and petition focused on themes surfaced by the Holy Spirit.
Gary Frost, national facilitator of prayer and compassion initiatives for Mission America Coalition, led more than seventy attendees in interceding for their communities and neighborhoods, often interpreted as “Jerusalem” in the model outlined in Acts 1:8.
“Our Jerusalem is that area of ministry in our life with the people that we come in contact with every day, the people who live around us. The problem is, that just because people have proximity, does not mean they have affinity,” Frost said. Many individuals are near us geographically on a daily basis, he added, but we have no real concern for them, who they are, or the state of their souls.
Kevin Carrothers, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Rochester, Illinois, and president of the Illinois Baptist State Association, led the time of prayer that followed Frost’s message. With the idea of letting Christ’s compassion flow out of us to everyone we meet, Carrothers encouraged attenders to pray for their own homes and for the wellbeing of their communities, challenging people to ask God how he wants them to make a difference where they live.
David Choi led a session on praying for church revitalization and church planting. In the US, we tend to be all about our individual accolades and strengths, he said. “But the Gospel is about finding your weakness, finding your deficiency, finding what you’re not good at, and then crying out to the God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.”
Cheryl Dorsey, prayer coordinator for the Chicago Metro Baptist Association, led the following time of prayer. She encouraged participants to face the wall along the perimeter of the room and call out to God, interceding for their churches, repenting of their prayerlessness, and praying for the salvation of those within their sphere of influence who don’t know Christ.
“We don’t need more strategies; we need prayer,” Choi said in his message. “Not just religious prayer, but Gospel prayer. Where we recognize that we have nothing without Him.”
The day of prayer was sponsored by PrayerLink, an organization of SBC entity, state Baptist convention, and ethnic fellowship prayer leaders that meets annually to pray and share best practices for engaging people in effective intercessory prayer.
Morgan Jackson is an editorial contributor to the Illinois Baptist, the news journal of the Illinois Baptist State Association, where this article first appeared, and is a member of Vale Church in Bloomington, Illinois. Used with permission. Roger S. Oldham, executive editor of SBC LIFE, contributed to this story.
PrayerLink Annual Meeting
Speaking on the topic, “Leading in the Need of Prayer,” Nate Adams, executive director of the Illinois State Baptist Association, challenged PrayerLink participants to avoid relying on “our God-given strengths more than we rely on God” through prayer.
Drawing from the story of Gideon, Adams noted that Judges 6 records numerous instances of Gideon speaking his objections to God’s directions. After “talking himself out,” Gideon came to a moment of surrender. What follows in chapter 7 is a role reversal: “God speaks; Gideon obeys; the people listen; God acts,” Adams said.
“Prayer is the heart’s declaration of dependence on God,” he said. We must resist the urge to “rush into leading without the power of God.”
Meeting at Broadview Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, PrayerLink members also selected Chris Schofield, prayer and spiritual awakening director with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, as its volunteer executive director; affirmed its new composition and purpose statement (see related story); shared reports about ministry needs and resources in their various areas of service; hosted a prayer gathering; and participated in a prayer tour to six church-planting sites in metropolitan Chicago during the October 6–8 meeting.