SOCIAL CIRCLE — Leonard Ravenhill, the revivalist, wrote, “No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying.”
The great advocate of prayer, E.M. Bounds said, “Units of prayer combined, like drops of water, make an ocean which defies resistance.”
It is true that the corporate prayer of God’s people can pull down the strongholds of Satan and usher in a new work of God, but where are the prayer warriors today?
On Monday we published a story about Jackie Hardy’s election as the recording secretary of the National Woman’s Missionary Union. Jackie also informed The Index about some of the prayer initiatives First Baptist Church Social Circle has implemented.
Jackie and her husband Mike, pastor of the Social Circle church, make a formidable ministering team and have been profuse in their expressions of gratitude for the way their congregation has committed themselves to the prayer ministry of the church.
Praying for issues at home and around the world
Jackie commented, “One of the greatest things we can do for the support of missions is to pray … not only for the missionaries who are sharing the love of Jesus at home and around the world, but our prayers for those they encounter can make an eternal difference! I truly believe that!
“Our women at First Baptist Social Circle, like many across our state, spend time praying for the lost and for missionaries, too. Last fall, we had several women who were inspired to lead our church in a different kind of praying. We felt that God had laid it on our hearts to hold an old-fashioned 24-hour prayer vigil.
“This was not the kind of prayer emphasis where people sign up and pray in their homes, but where people would actually leave the comforts of their home and come to the church to pray … for 24 hours … in 30-minute increments, two people per half hour. We decided to hold it on the 24 hours prior to the opening of the polls for voting in the presidential election in November.”
Every slot filled
Jackie continued, “We also enlisted a team of volunteers who would provide security during that same 24 hours at the church while people were praying. As we begin to ask for volunteers to pray, we were thrilled that every slot was filled with others joining in wherever they could.
“Our prayer team of six ladies met, prayed over the room, and put together a prayer strategy and experience that God has used to spark a renewal in our church that only He could initiate. There were prayer stations that provided guided prayer in several areas of the life of our church including our church, our community, our nation, and our world.
“There was also an altar for personal prayers of confession and repentance. We were so thankful for the prayer team from First Baptist Church Waynesboro, who loaned us some props for those prayer stations.”
A work that has continued
Jackie indicated that she and her husband arrived at the church early on the morning that the prayer vigil was to begin, spent some time in the prayer room, and asked for the Holy Spirit to fill that room and use the next 24 hours to draw them and the church family closer to the Lord so that the people of First Baptist could be the people He wanted them to be as a church and as citizens in the nation.
“As the first ‘prayers’ arrived,” Jackie recalled, “we sat outside of the room, praying for them and a move of the Spirit. Our prayers were answered for the next 24 hours and following. God began a work in that small room that has continued to this day.
“We have had people from our church who have felt led to establish prayer rooms in their homes. Families are praying together that weren’t before. Children have learned to pray for those in our community who have needs … both physical and spiritual. We’ve prayed for missionaries and then had the opportunity to meet those missionaries face-to-face to hear how God has and continues to work as a result of the prayers of our church and others.”
Since the initial prayer emphasis, the church has designated a separate room, located near the worship center, where prayers are offered daily. People come by the church during the week to pray and others use the room on Wednesdays and Sundays. A men’s Bible Study group meets each Saturday morning and some of those men spend time in the prayer room. The lighting in the room is operated by timers, so if the building is open, the prayer room is available.
A personal journey through the garden
During Holy Week, an outdoor prayer experience was designed with the aid of prayer guides to assist visitors in praying through the last week in the life of Christ. They were able to make the journey through the garden exceedingly personal by driving a nail in the cross as a part of that experience.
Pastor Mike Hardy stated, “Perhaps the biggest impact on our church has been a raised awareness of the need for a consistent prayer life and a strategy for making that happen both individually and as a church.”
The prayer team from First Baptist Church Social Circle will be joining with some other churches with prayer ministries to provide a prayer experience as a part of the Georgia Baptist Convention meeting that will be held at North Metro Baptist Church in Lawrenceville Nov. 12-14.