Georgia Baptists pray for upcoming SBC annual meeting in New Orleans


DACULA, Ga. – More than 500 Georgia Baptists prayed Thursday for messengers who will gather in New Orleans next month for the SBC annual meeting, asking the Lord to enable them to look past their own desires and concentrate on what’s best for the kingdom.

“We want to be people who are obedient to God,” said W. Thomas Hammond Jr., executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and organizer of the prayer event. “We want revival. To have that, we have to have unity.”

Georgia Baptists gathered in homes, offices and churches across the state at 8 a.m. Thursday, less than a month before messengers gather to deal with some potentially divisive issues at the SBC annual meeting on June 13-14. They'll decide whether to give incument President Bart Barber of Texas a second term or replace him with Georgia  Pastor Mike Stone. And they'll decide whether overturn a decision to expell California's Saddleback Church, one of the largest Southern Baptist congregations in the nation, because it has a woman serving as teaching pastor.

Hammond, who hosted the Georgia prayer gathering from Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula.

Jennifer Williams, vice president of the Georgia Baptist Pastor’s Wives Fellowship, asked the Lord to put the focus of messengers on Christ.

“We pray as the messengers are preparing to go to the convention that even now in these coming weeks you would point their eyes to You,  that their eyes would fall from the things of their own lives, of their own desires, of their own hearts, and of their own positions, that they would sincerely seek after You, that You would be the shining star of the whole meeting,” she prayed.

In his prayer, Hunter Roe, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bremen, asked for humility for the messengers.

“We know that You exalt the humble, that You resist the proud,” he prayed. “I ask, God, that you would humble us. Please help us to not seek after our own personal advantage, to not have selfish ambition, but to consider the needs of others above our own.”

Ruben Torres, pastor the Hispanic congregation at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, asked for wisdom for all Southern Baptists.

“We have many challenges and many opportunities ahead of us,” he prayed. “We need to make good choices as a denomination. We ask You to guide us and let us hear Your voice so the gospel may be heard throughout the world.”

Mike Taylor, mission strategist in the Smyrna Baptist Association, prayed that messengers would give careful thought to what is honorable.

“We just place New Orleans in your hands, and we trust You, Father, that You would draw us together as one,” he said.