Thursday, May 23, 2024
Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeAll The NewsPrayer Movements are Growing in Our Association

Prayer Movements are Growing in Our Association

By Heidi Sorrels, Pastor Advocate • Healthy Church Solutions

      This article is the second in a series of six articles focused on “Prayer For Our Association.” Healthy Church Solutions, your BMA Global church health and leader health ministry, is partnering with the Baptist Trumpet and inviting your church to intentionally set aside time to pray for our association before the national meeting. As we prepare to gather in April to worship, unite, report, fellowship, plan, vote, celebrate and send, there is much to pray for! There are more lost to be reached, more leaders and missionaries to be raised up, more churches to be planted and more gospel seeds to be sown. We believe God wants even more for our association and our ministries than we do, and we want to hear His direction and see Him move in power.

      This prayer emphasis is really an extension of what we’ve been heading toward over the last six years. In 2018, Healthy Church Solutions began to focus heavily on prayer initiatives and look for ways to point pastors and churches to prayer. We created a three-part prayer training with content covering how to build a prayer culture, and we began to suggest that every pastor and every church, no matter what the need, begin with prayer.

      Since then, Larry Barker has done many regional pastor prayer retreats with small groups of pastors and associational leaders. During these times, individuals practice deepening their own prayer life and leave ready to lead another group of leaders through the same kind of retreat. Not to be outdone, the ladies have also asked for this kind of training and practice. Shelby Barker and I have done several one-day retreats and have seen God move in many remarkable ways. We are also working on a new prayer training we hope to have available this year, progressing from mature individual prayer to deeper team and congregational prayer.

      In addition, the theme of ReCharge over the last two years has been prayer, as pastor Bill Elliff shared beautifully, and often brokenly, how to be humble people of prayer. If we want God’s strength, power, overwhelming peace and the sweet ministering of the Spirit, we must pray and pray more.

      Prayer has always been part of the culture of the BMA. There have been significant moments marked by prayer at national meetings. Some include prayer breakfasts, evening meals and prayer meetings, huddles of older pastors praying with younger men and, through it all, consistent prayer from leaders at the podium over the work of the association being aligned to the gospel mission of Jesus. We open and close in prayer and aren’t opposed to stopping in the middle to pray.

      Our churches and missionaries stand on prayer, and our BMA Global office teams do, too. Over the years, many prayers for God’s unity, saving power, covering, intercession and provision have been prayed through many different means.

      Karen Keathley said this when I asked her to recall how prayer has been a thread throughout her ministry work at the Missions office: “Prayer has occurred my entire time in the office, which will be 35 years in August. When I began in the office, we all had lunch together most days and also had a lot of sharing and prayer about what was going on in the lives and on the fields of our missionaries. I think that sharing prayer together has probably occurred throughout the history of the Missions Office.”

      Dr. John David Smith mentioned ongoing weekly devotions and prayer as far back as he can remember. Even to this day, BMA Global and Lifeword staff gather each Wednesday to share a devotion and time of prayer for each other, BMA missionaries, BMA planters, BMA churches, BMA pastors and families, and fresh gospel opportunities around the world. New this year, Healthy Church Solutions has started an additional prayer focus called First Wednesday, to pray one month over a region of the world, missionaries and Changemakers there and also for a church plant and local church in North America. We want to be an office that models prayer and prays more often. A new prayer resource for you, the BMA Global Missionary Prayer Guide, can be found at bmamissions.org/prayerguide and downloaded for free.

      Why should we keep learning how to pray and calling ourselves to gather in prayer? Because we don’t naturally lean toward the posture of prayer, toward adoring our Savior like we should, toward tarrying at His feet, toward confession and toward being compassionate to others. The disciples knew they had a long way to go to be men who prayed like Jesus, and they asked for His teaching. We are of the same need. The more we pray, the more we want to pray.

      As we approach the national meeting, we invite all BMA churches and ministry leaders to join us in praying, at least for the two Sundays leading up to our gathering in April. At the national meeting, we will also continue to pray. We will have a prayer space available for you to come to pray over our association, missionaries, ministries, pastors, pastor families and the needs in our community.

      Here is the schedule leading up to April 16-18. Be on the lookout for specific ways to pray for our association in the upcoming weeks, and start planning now how you will participate on the Sundays of April 7 and April 14.

         • March 20 — An article from a pastor who has successfully launched a prayer initiative in his church.

         • March 27 — An article with specific ways to intentionally make prayer the heartbeat of your church and ministry.

         • April 3 — Specific ways to pray for our association this week.

         • April 10 — Specific ways to pray for our association this week.

         Note from the Baptist Trumpet: We ask every church in our association to commit to praying for our association. We invite you to devote a specific time of prayer during the morning worship services on April 7 and 14 (the two weekends before the meeting). If you are led to do more, other possibilities would be to organize a dedicated time of prayer (i.e., a special prayer service, all members commit to pray at the same time every day, 24 hours of prayer, etc.) outside the morning service sometime during one or both of those weekends — whatever would work for your church.

      However you choose to participate, we would love to know that you will choose to do so. Please email Heidi Sorrells with Healthy Church Solutions at heidi@bmaglobal.org and let her know that you will join in and how you plan to participate. She can also provide you with additional resources for organizing your church’s prayer times, if needed.

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