Georgia Baptists bathe SBC meeting in prayer

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Men gather at the Omni Hotel in Dallas on Monday night to pray for the Southern Baptist Convention. GERALD HARRIS/Index

There is nothing like an old fashioned, fervent, focused and faith-filled prayer meeting to provide healing in a time of hurt, peace in a time of petulance, solace in a time of sorrow and direction in a time of disorder.

Knowing that the current Southern Baptist Convention meeting could result in a season of renewal and blessing or in a season of further unrest and decline the Georgia Baptist messengers were called to prayer after the Monday night session of the Pastors’ Conference. Think of the context of the prayer meeting.

As President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet for a historic summit in Singapore, Southern Baptists are gathering in Dallas for what may be a pivotal and historical meeting for the denomination.

Many people believe the Southern Baptist Convention is fragmented in a variety of ways. Some are even comparing the spirit of the current gathering of messengers to the well-documented Dallas convention in 1985 when more than 45,000 messengers gathered for what has been called the largest deliberative convocation in history.

With the pre-convention publicity, the crisis at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the presidential election and a general undercurrent of angst throughout the Southern Baptist Zion, Georgia Baptist leadership, namely GBC President Mike Stone and J. Robert White, the Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board decided to call Georgia Baptists to prayer.

Following their prayer time on Monday night at the convention hotel in Dallas, men stand to sing “Revive Us Again.” GERALD HARRIS/Index

One never knows what the response will be to a prayer meeting as bedtime approaches, but scores of Georgia Baptists gathered in a room almost too small to accommodate those who wanted to seek the Lord on behalf of the denomination they love. Nearly 100 people gathered as a family to pray for the larger Southern Baptist family.

Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear and GBC President, initiated the directed prayer time by announcing that Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, had been diagnosed with a ruptured appendix and taken to a Dallas hospital for surgery. Prayer was offered for “Brother Johnny.”

The group was also directed to pray through the requisites for revival as outlined in II Chronicles 7:14. Not only did Stone and White pray, but also others were called on to pray. Small groups were formed for the purpose of agreeing on various objects of prayer.

Special prayer was offered for Convention President Steve Gaines, Parliamentarian Barry McCarty, interim CEO/President of the SBC Executive Committee Augie Boto and other convention leaders. Special intercession was offered for Southwestern Seminary.

Stone urged the prayer warriors to pray for all Southern Baptists to speak words of kindness and encouragement and refrain from speaking negatively of any fellow Baptist. Stone also urged those present to use caution and grace in communicating through social media.

The prayers of Stone, White and others were obviously sincere and heartfelt. The spirit was sweet and convivial. The group concluded their prayer session by singing two verses of “Revive Us Again.”

One hundred people, mostly men, singing enthusiastically seemed like a foretaste of glory divine. They sang:

“All glory and praise to the Lamb that was slain

Who has born all our sin and has cleansed every stain

Hallelujah, Thine the glory, Hallelujah, amen

Hallelujah, Thine the glory, revive us again.”

We can only pray that the 2018 Dallas meeting has upon it the mark of the Divine, but it would be difficult to imagine that it could exceed the Monday night prayer meeting of our beloved Georgia Baptists.

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