November 2017 Issue
PrayerLink Engages in Prayer, Expands Missional Footprint
by Roger S. Oldham
Prayerwalking made a difference in his church’s outreach to its local community, Thomas Hammond told prayer leaders as he welcomed them to Jonesboro, Georgia for PrayerLink’s annual gathering.
A lady from the church saw “a small alley behind a row of shops that opened up to eighteen dwellings,” Hammond, pastor of First Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, said.
As a result, the church launched a Latino ministry, seeing multiple professions of faith following a night of blessing. The Latino congregation now has its own church services and outreach ministry, Hammond, who serves as president of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, said in his devotional from James 5:13–16.
“Prayerwalking opened up our spiritual eyes and our hearts to what God wanted us to do,” Hammond said. “We wouldn’t know of this community without prayerwalking.”
PrayerLink participants worship and pray during one of four 10–20–30 Prayer Experiences during its annual meeting at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia, October 5–6, 2017. Photo by Roger S. Oldham.
This year’s PrayerLink forum sought input from prayer leaders in response to its newly-designed logo and purpose statement. The logo incorporates the group’s global prayer focus, its passion to lift up Jesus’s high priestly prayer, and its desire to join hands with people of every race by praying, connecting, resourcing, and serving.
Prayer leaders discussed numerous needs such as equipping local church prayer leaders to assist their pastors in prayer ministries and ways to use social media to expand prayer outreach through local churches and beyond.
Chris Schofield, who serves as the volunteer executive director of PrayerLink, opened and closed the October 5–6 forum by pointing to King Asa’s reform (2 Chronicles 14 and 15).
At the beginning of his reign in Judah, King Asa commanded the people seek the Lord, Schofield said. Ten years later, the land was invaded by Zerah, the Cushite. Asa led the people to cry out to the Lord, acknowledging that God is greater than the enemies that sought to vanquish his people.
When the Lord routed their enemies, the people moved from merely obeying a king’s commandment to seek the Lord to establishing a covenant to seek the Lord. Following their earnest desire to enter a covenant with the Lord, God gave the land “rest” for twenty years.
“The seeking was a continuous seeking,” Schofield, director of the office of prayer for evangelization and spiritual awakening with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, said.
“Over the lifetime of one man’s leadership” the land had rest, he said. “This has to be a serious thing—to seek Him with all our hearts. . . . He is the one who brings that rest.”
Claude King, discipleship and church health specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources, leads in prayer at the First Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Georgia, House of Prayer. Photo by Daphne Youngblood.
10–20–30 Prayer Experience
PrayerLink leaders and guests also participated in four one-hour prayer experiences using the 10–20–30 guided prayer model under the theme “God Is Greater Than . . .” The four sessions focused on praying for Great Communities, obeying the Great Commandment, fulfilling the Great Commission, and seeking Great Collaborations.
The 10–20–30 prayer experience is a model that can be used in any size church or setting. Each one-hour session includes ten minutes of Scripture reading, exposition, and worship; twenty minutes of sharing prayer concerns in small groups related to the session focus; and thirty minutes of guided and conversational times of individual, group, and corporate prayer.
Phil Miglioratti, prayer coordinator for the Illinois Baptist State Association, described it as “a template that produces a fresh format for biblically-themed praying; compelling active listening; enthusiastic asking-sharing-visioning; and a Spirit-led conversation with God that incorporates scripture, song, speaking, silence, sharing, and supplication.”
Chris Schofield, volunteer executive director of PrayerLink, challenges participants to move from merely obeying a commandment to seek God to establishing a covenant to seek Him during the Forum at PrayerLink’s October 5–6, 2017, meeting at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia. Photo by Roger S. Oldham.
House of Prayer, FBC Jonesboro
Participants held two ninety-minute affinity-related discussion groups—SBC entity prayer leaders, state convention and ethnic minority fellowship leaders, associational leaders, and local church prayer leaders. Each small group toured the church’s House of prayer, hosted by Mel Blackaby, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia. Blackaby told PrayerLink members that any group using the facility must have as its dominant purpose to spend time in focused prayer.
Sammy Joo, Asian ministries consultant with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and founding pastor of NET Church, addresses PrayerLink during its bus prayer tour. Photo by Roger S. Oldham.
Prayerwalking Bus Tour
PrayerLink concludes each annual meeting with a bus tour of ministry sites in the host city. This year, the group prayerwalked the International Bible Church in Clarkston, Georgia, and the Georgia Baptist Mission Board building. The group also prayed for the North American Mission Board and its ministries, Atlanta-area church plants, Georgia Tech Baptist collegiate ministry, and for racial reconciliation in the greater Atlanta area and across the United States.
Georgia Baptist Mission Board church-minister relations leader Marty Youngblood, NAMB missionary Lorna Bius, and Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Asian ministries consultant Sammy Joo gave an overview of their respective ministries, leading participants in prayer during the bus tour.
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