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PrayerLink Addresses Biblical Oneness
Testimonies, Break-Outs, Panel, Concert of Prayer Mark Annual Gathering

Lorna Bius, Send Relief missionary with the North American Mission Board, led a panel discussion on “Biblical Oneness, Reconciliation, and Prayer for Revival and Spiritual Awakening” during the October 4, 2018, session of the annual PrayerLink gathering at First Baptist Church in Keller, Texas. Photo by Roger S. Oldham.

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.

PrayerLink Panel

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.

Left to right: Richard Taylor, evangelism associate, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC); Kie Bowman, senior pastor, Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas; Pierre Bitar, senior pastor, Arabic Community Church in Allen, Texas; Jim Richards, executive director, SBTC; Shane Pruitt, director of evangelism, SBTC; Trey Kent, senior pastor, Northwest Fellowship in Austin, Texas; and David Smith, director of missions, Austin Baptist Association led in a panel discussion on “Biblical Oneness, Reconciliation, and Prayer for Revival and Spiritual Awakening” during the October 4, 2018 session of the annual PrayerLink gathering at First Baptist Church in Keller, Texas. Photo by Roger S. Oldham.

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.

David Colbath, from First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, gave testimony of God’s faithfulness through numerous surgeries as he recovered from eight gunshot wounds he received during the church shooting on November 5, 2018, during which twenty-six worshipers were killed and twenty others were wounded. Photo by Roger S. Oldham.
Jimmy Stewart, director of evangelism and church development with the Alaska Baptist Convention, told the story of his physical recovery and return to active ministry following numerous skin-grafts and other surgeries following a propane tank explosion at a cabin in Alaska on July 23, 2016, that left him with third degree burns over 80 percent of his body. Photo by Roger S. Oldham.

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.

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Winter 2018 Issue
Volume 27, Issue 1
November 2018