Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
FERGUSON, Mo. (BP) -- As rumors of potential grand jury action swirled across Ferguson, Mo., a hundred Baptists met for a prayer summit at First Baptist Church to pray for the community, the state and the nation.
The prayer summit was led by the North American Mission Board's Gary Frost and Arkansas pastor Bill Elliff.
Frost and Elliff led the group in a time of repentance, worship and intercession for themselves and for revival in their churches, their communities and beyond. They also prayed specifically for pastors in the St. Louis area, the focus of national attention in anticipation of a grand jury decision whether to indict a white police officer, Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old Aug. 9. In the days after the shooting, Ferguson made international headlines with protests, rioting and the police response amid cries of racism.
"You know all the stuff that has been going on in North County St. Louis," Jim Breeden, director of missions for St. Louis Metro Baptist Association, told the Nov. 13 prayer summit. "We need and will take all the prayers we can get. But it's not really about North County or about race relations; it's really about God's people humbling themselves and coming before the Lord."
In turning the prayer summit's focus toward the church's need for revival, Elliff said revival is "the extraordinary work of the Spirit of God among His people that produces extraordinary results."
"God is moving all the time, but in revival there are these moments when God chooses to rend the heavens and bring His Kingdom in a church, a nation and a life," Elliff said. "But our faith is weak and our prayer is small. We can't fathom what it would be like for God to bring real revival.
"But God has done that and He can do it again. Prayer is the foundation of revival."
Frost addressed Ferguson specifically in his remarks, comparing negativity in the community to negativity in Nehemiah's day as he rebuilt Jerusalem's wall.
"There are people poised for destruction and hoping all literal hell breaks loose," Frost said. "That's the atmosphere we're dealing with. But it's not a matter of policing.
"Only God can heal and thwart the tactics of the enemy." Frost said, referring to Satan. "We need to pray that God would thwart the plans of all the agendas that have shown up here for the purposes of advancing any person and not the glory of God."
Frost is the North American Mission Board's vice president for prayer and for its Midwest Region. Elliff, senior teaching pastor of The Summit Church in North Little Rock, Ark., has led prayer summits in 17 states.
Continuing to pray.
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Friday, December 12, 2014
From Riots to Revival in Ferguson: Billy Graham Chaplains Are Now Deployed to Bring Hope and Healing
By Michael Ireland
Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
FERGUSON, MO (ANS) -- Chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have been fanning out and ministering in the city of Ferguson, Missouri following riots that erupted after the recent Grand Jury decision not to indict a local police officer in the Michael brown shooting case, according to Erik Ogren, writing for the Billy Graham website.
Jeff Naber of the Billy Graham Rapid Response
"We've heard from several pastors, and they view this as raw spiritual warfare. That's what it is, and it's very obvious," said Jeff Naber, one of the Rapid Response Team. "But with that said, the potential for revival here is extreme."
"This is different than a tornado or flood," said Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplain Strib Boynton as he maneuvered his truck through the streets of Ferguson. "This is changing the hearts of people, of a whole community."
Ogren, in his story for www.billygraham.org, says that this response is unlike anything the crisis-trained chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association have ever encountered in the decade-plus history of the ministry.
Ogren reports that whereas a natural disaster often leaves a wide swath of destruction but dissipates in a way that allows for healing and reconstruction, the unrest in Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown is a tragedy of distrust and anger-issues which cannot be solved simply by carryi ng out moldy carpet or patching a roof.
"They feel hopeless and they need to be reminded that all hope isn't lost," said Vivian Dudley, founder and evangelist for One Church Outreach Ministry, as she sat with chaplains just yards away from a dumpster bearing the spray-painted words "If we burn, you burn with us!"
"What the enemy meant to do was to box each of us in to feel like hope is lost. I think that right now the spiritual climate is they need a revival," Dudley said.
The question, Ogren says, on most people's hearts is can peace and faith arise from the ashes of burned buildings and broken hearts? Can reconciliation-and even revival-be borne of the riots?
While hopelessness still weighs heavily on this town of 21,000, there are glimpses of redemption, he writes.
The Rapid Response Team's Mobile Command Truck-parked on space provided by Bishop Giovanni Johnson of the Center for Hope and Peace-has become a meeting point for many, Ogren says.
Throughout the day, he writes, a wide array of peop le-gang members, pastors, police officers, fire fighters, community leaders, family members of Michael Brown, and others-pass through to have a cup of coffee, perhaps get out of the rain, and share their stories with the chaplains.
"This has been an incredible experience for us in Ferguson," said Naber, manager of chaplain development and ministry relations, who has been in the city for nearly two weeks. "We've had gang members the last two days-we're talking about hardened street gangs-and they are curious. They came in, sat down, and prayed with us. They support us and have offered to take us into the community to minister.
"We've had people from the community who have been portrayed as being on opposite sides of this division, but who have cried together, embraced each other and prayed together. There is still a storm raging, but they're looking for healing."
Ogren says that one thing that many who have talked with the chaplains agree on is that if hope and reconciliation are to come to Ferguson, it needs to be spiritual healing.
Dudley, who has her own miraculous story of addiction and redemption on the streets of Ferguson and neighboring Jennings, said, "You see burned down buildings. I see buildings lying prostrate before the Lord. There's a verse that says if they keep quiet, I'll make the rocks cry out. I see the buildings saying, 'Now behold the Lamb.' Because of where I've been, I see so much hope."
Similarly, Bishop Johnson, who is in the process of renovating a former steak house into a gathering place for young people to learn and develop job skills, said, "God has to intervene. God has to intervene, and it could start here."
Editor's Note: ANS Special Reporter Michael Ireland visited St. Louis in April this year with a missions team from his church and is planning on returning to minister at The Dream Center next Spring.
See all ASSIST News articles at www.assistnews.net
|** Michael Ireland is a volunteer Internet Journalist and licensed minister who has served as Chief Correspondent and Senior International Correspondent for ASSIST News Service ASSIST News Service. since 1998. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. For a digest of ANS stories, log-on to Mike's Monitor athttps://paper.li/Michael_ASSIST/1410023867|