At different times in history, reconciliation between estranged persons and revival have “fed off of each other,” according to Kie Bowman, pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.
“But we must remember that revival does not come to a cleansed and perfected people,” he said. “Revival comes to cleanse and perfect people.
“Ultimately, revival is not a reward for our sanctification; it is a process that brings us into closeness with God,” he said in response to a question during a panel discussion at the October 4–5 meeting of PrayerLink.
Bowman, one of three pastors on the panel who are part of what has been identified as the Unceasing Prayer Movement in Austin, Texas, challenged participants to seek God above all.
This year’s PrayerLink participants heard from seven leaders from across Texas in a panel discussion that addressed a wide range of topics, from Biblical “oneness” (a reference to John 17) to resources to strengthen one’s prayer life.
Each panelist addressed a specific moment or event in their lives when God brought them into a more intentional prayer life. They also lifted up corporate prayer as a biblical model that “tears down strongholds” and contributes to reconciliation.
Testimonies of God’s Faithfulness
Two men who suffered significant physical harm, one from gunshot wounds received in the Sutherland Springs church shooting in 2017, the other from a propane gas explosion that seared 80 percent of his body with third degree burns in 2016, shared testimonies of God’s faithfulness.
David Colbath from Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Jimmy Stewart from Anchorage, Alaska, both underwent numerous surgeries as a result of their injuries. They gave testimony to God’s faithfulness and miraculous healing in their lives. While both men acknowledged they continue to struggle with pain on a daily basis, they testified that their experiences have opened numerous doors to share the Gospel with many who do not know Christ.
Concert of Prayer
The Thursday sessions concluded with a ninety-minute Concert of Prayer at First Baptist Church in Keller, Texas, which hosted the meeting.
Ted Elmore, prayer strategist with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, used Jesus’s model prayer in Matthew 6:9–13 to give structure to the prayer gathering. He assigned eighteen individuals, including host pastor Keith Sanders, to lead in focused prayer. The church’s praise team led the congregation in times of worship and praise, closing the solemn assembly by focusing on the glory of God.
Networking and Prayerwalking
The 2018 PrayerLink gathering provided several opportunities for local church prayer leaders, associational prayer leaders, SBC entity, state, and ethnic fellowship prayer leaders, and those involved in prayer ministry networks to meet in small groups to share ideas, strengthen partnerships, and pray together.
The annual meeting closed with a prayer vision tour for prayer leaders to prayerwalk selected sites in the greater Dallas area.
Roger S. Oldham is vice president for Convention communications and relations of the SBC Executive Committee and is a member of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee.