|Prayer journeys serve
as preparation for Crossover Metro Atlanta events
-by Doy Cave
ATLANTA, June 13--Though the present state of affairs in America would seem to indicate
otherwise, statistics say 90 percent of Americans pray.
With that thought in mind, members of the Southern Baptist Bold
Mission Prayer Thrust team have adopted a new "Prayer Journeys" concept that
uses prayer while traveling through an area to help lead people to Christ.
Prayer Journey was modeled June 11-12 during Crossover Metro
Atlanta, the annual evangelism emphasis preceding the Southern Baptist Convention annual
At the prayer tent in Centennial Olympic Park, participants could
come by as they desired, pick up Prayer Journey and witnessing materials and start on
their journey. They could stop at stations in the park, travel by car, on the MARTA train
or any other type of transportation to pray over the city of Atlanta.
Chris Schofield, manager of the NAMB prayer evangelism unit, said
the move to the new strategy is the result of a growing awareness across the country of
the need for prayer.
"We are in the midst of one of the biggest prayer movements
in North America," he said. "Not only are people hungry for a thriving prayer
life, denominations are seeing the need to put full-time staff people in prayer
Schofield said with the new awareness of prayer has come a
movement toward prayer evangelism, or winning the lost through prayer, which is based in
biblical principles. The idea of the Prayer Journey, according to NAMB prayer strategist
Thomas Wright, is to involve non-Christians in a conversation that is already taking
"When we're praying on-site, we need to be sure that we are
the vessels he can use," he said. "If we're going to be biblical, our house of
prayer [us] must 'seek and save the lost.' What you're essentially doing on a Prayer
Journey is helping people to get in on a conversation you're having with the Lord."
The response to Prayer Journeys has been overwhelming, Wright
said. At every prayer journey site nationally, he said each group has seen at least one
divine encounter with Christ.
The same was true during Crossover.
Schofield recounted the story of a group that went on a Prayer
Journey through an Atlanta neighborhood. While they walked through the neighborhood,
praying out loud, a woman of another religion was working in her yard and asked what they
were doing. The group explained that they were praying for the neighborhood to hear the
gospel of Jesus through preaching the Bible, activities and other venues.
"The Bible?" the woman asked.
"Yes," one of the men in the group replied. "The book that God wrote."
"God wrote a book?" the woman asked excitedly.
Woods Watson of Arlington, Texas, said, "I'm not old enough
to remember the Bay of Pigs incident in Cuba, but I do know why they call it that. They
call it that because when the troops arrived on the coast of Cuba to invade it, they
didn't have any air support. As a result, they were all gunned down. It was devastating.
Prayer is the same way. Prayer is that air cover for God's troops, and without it, we
would fail miserably."
Schofield said the Bold Mission Prayer Thrust team is already
making prayer preparations for next year's Crossover event in Orlando, Fla.
"The whole idea is to keep prayer from being something
separate from the events or a separate event in itself," he said. "Prayer is
vital. Biblically, we see that prayer permeated everything the disciples were about and
what they did. God wants us to be in such an attitude of prayer that it is in and out of
our daily conversation. Then it becomes a life, because that's what prayer is and that's
what evangelism is."
Printed resources on Prayer Journeys developed by the North
American Mission Board will be available in July through LifeWay Christian Resources.
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