Georgia Baptists called to repentance, unity on National Day of Prayer


W. Thomas Hammond Jr., executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, and his wife Kerri led Georgia Baptists in a time of corporate prayer via livestream Wednesday morning on the National Day of Prayer.

Hammond recalled that though President Ronald Reagan in 1988 set the date as the first Thursday in May, national leaders as far back as President George Washington called upon the people to pray for repentance and thanksgiving.

“We so desperately need this time together to pray,” Hammond said, “to ask God for His forgiveness upon our nation for our sins, but also a time for God to bring healing to our land.”

Kerri read the theme for the 2024 National Day of Prayer, a passage from the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel:

O LORD, you are my lamp.

The LORD lights up my darkness.

In your strength I can crush an army;

with my God I can scale any wall.

God’s way is perfect.

All the LORD’s promises prove true.

He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

2 Samuel 22:29-31 (NLT)

In his prayer, Hammond asked for God’s guidance, for His blessing upon the state’s pastors, and for “the millions of people all across Georgia who do not have a relationship with You, God that You would use us to reach the lost and bring glory to Your name.”

The livestream included prayers from various state Baptist leaders.

Church planter Rod Blackmon of OneChurch in South Fulton, who prayed for pastors and churches, recalled that the Bible says, “Beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel.” Blackmon recognized that the task of pastors is heavy and that some “are right now struggling, some are ready to give up and quit” and prayed for the Lord to encourage these “great men of God.” Blackmon also interceded for the families of pastors, asking God to protect them and to keep their children on the right path.

Jennifer Byrd, whose husband Stephen Byrd is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Warner Robins, read from Psalm 16:5 before praying for pastors’ wives. Stressing the unique challenges faced by women in ministry, Byrd prayed that these women would “find friendships and relationships that are valuable.”

Recognizing that in some areas of the world Christians are persecuted because of their faith, Hammond introduced Korean pastor Sang Hun Lee of Everlove Baptist Church in Gwinnett County. Lee contrasted the religious freedom enjoyed by Americans with the dangers faced by believers in other countries, who risk imprisonment or even death for expressing their faith. “Grant them courage, wisdom and protection,” Lee prayed, “as they step out in faith, knowing that You are with them always.”

Justin Gambrell, pastor of First Baptist Church of Blackshear, lifted up national and state political leaders. “We have to pray for our governmental leaders,” he said, “because they are making everyday decisions that impact us as citizens.”

Hammond invited Javier Lopez, pastor of the Hispanic ministry at First Baptist Church of Douglasville and vice president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, to pray for revival and spiritual awakening. Lopez said, “If we are going to see our nation and all nations turn to the Lord we need to be in humility at the foot of the cross.” He asked the Lord to draw believers closer to Himself, and in so doing, closer to each other to serve, worship and glorify God in unity. “Restore our relationship with you, Lord,” he asked, “and bring us passion for You.“

The livestream will be available at this site and will be repeated at noon and at 730pm.