I had the privilege of leading the task force that planned the first Prayer Gathering in 2014. I can tell you that it was an amazing experience. I served in that leadership position for six years. I still serve as a member of the task force. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have been blessed by serving with this group of dedicated men and women.
Having been involved all these years in planning and implementing the Prayer Gathering, I would like to share some observations and insights that have really impacted my life.
First, I felt a great passion for prayer in all the task force members. In most meetings I led, each member was asked how God was working in their lives and churches. The stories of how God was working in their lives were incredible. All the members had wonderful things happening on a regular basis because of prayer by them, their church members, or close prayer partners. As a result, they were passionate about prayer.
In the second place, as the task force talked and planned, we always tried to keep our focus on revival and spiritual awakening in Arkansas. We discussed many situations, problems, and opportunities, and at some point, we came to agreement that God was leading in a certain direction for each Prayer Gathering.
Another observation that impacted me was that everyone that attended the Prayer Gatherings really came to pray. Admittedly, in the first Prayer Gathering some did not readily understand what was happening. Some thought this would be a prayer conference. Some thought this would be a preaching and Bible study on prayer. But, when they came and we actually spent our time in worship and prayer, they began to see the purpose of the Gathering. We really came to pray. In the following years, the participants come ready to pray and experience God in a fresh and new way. What a great experience!
In addition, the way God has used our leaders is truly a blessing. Ronnie Floyd led our first Gathering with Bill Elliff joining him to lead the second Gathering. Bill Elliff has been the leader of subsequent Gatherings. God used these men to guide the participants through a time of worship through music, appropriate and timely messages, and then a season of true prayer. God always seems to impress upon my life that I really need to pray more and be more intentional about my prayer life.
In every Gathering, many new friendships and relationships were established. Participants found men and women who really wanted a relationship that involved becoming prayer partners. Some of these relationships developed into praying over the phone. Some involved getting together regularly to pray and ask God for real revival and spiritual awakening in their churches, our state, and our country.
My last observation for this article is that churches have begun having prayer emphases in their churches similar to the Prayer Gathering. As a result, many people are praying regularly for revival and spiritual awakening. God is good!
Let me tell you that my personal prayer life has profoundly changed in the last ten years. I find myself spending more time in prayer than ever before. I believe my prayer life has changed from centering on my needs to focusing on the needs of others, a burden for revival and spiritual awakening, a deepening focus on praying for the lost here and around the world, and a real desire to be always aware of how God is working in and around me. God has been so good to me!
Allow me to share one way my prayer life has changed. For years, I prayed for the full-time Baptist Collegiate Ministry directors. My prayer for them consisted of just calling them by name and asking God to help them in their ministry. Now, I message each director and ask for specific prayer requests. I not only call them by name, but I also pray for those specific prayer requests. What a blessing!
The 2023 Prayer Gathering will take place on Monday evening, August 28, and Tuesday morning, August 29, at The City Center next to Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock. I encourage you to make plans to attend as we lift a “United Cry for Authentic Awakening.” Times of prayer will be led by pastors from across the state. You will hear from a panel of student leaders and spend time in prayer for the generation who will be leaders at this crucial point in time.
Tell others about this event and invite them to be a participant. You will be blessed immensely by being part of this great and inspiring experience. Click here to preregister to ensure enough resources are available.