Thursday, April 7, 2011
‘Covering Mississippi in Prayer’ visits county
By SUE WATSON
A movement by state Baptists, asking Mississippians to pray daily when they wake up, made its way to the Marshall County courthouse lawn March 28.
Close to 100 people turned out to hear an appeal for 10,000 prayer warriors across the state to pray for themselves, leaders and souls each morning before getting on with the day. Each county seat was to have been visited by last week. Amory was the last county seat scheduled.
Pastor Jim Futral, executive director-treasurer of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, said Covering Mississippi in Prayer 2011 will also extend to the nation.
So far, about 20,000 people are thought to have heard this appeal since the prayer rallies began in January.
Since some counties have two county seats, the group said 90 meetings were scheduled. The prayer movement includes people of all faiths.
“We are praying for ourselves to be what God wants us to be, for the servants in the community and for souls,” Futral said.
There is a passion and a desire across the state for prayer, he said.
“A prayer gathering is just an outward expression of what takes place every morning,” he said. “We are looking for 10,000 but we probably are not going to have 10,000. We are going to have probably 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, 50,000.”
Prayer warriors promise to pray before 8 a.m. every day for 365 days, or to the end of the year, he said.
Since lots of people are not up that early, Futral said people who want to join the prayer warriors can just pray whenever they get up.
“The point is, when you begin your day, begin your day with the Lord,” he said. “Ask Him to cover your day with prayer. It is a challenge from Heaven.”
Futral said God wants to bless us and He wants us to come to Him to get our blessing. He added that we have no just reason to ask God to change another person when we are not willing to change ourselves.
It is important to pray for leaders and elected officials rather than criticize them, he said.
“Sometimes we are critical of elected officials because we think we elected them,” Futral said.
But those who are in a position of authority or influence touch the lives of many and it is important to pray for them after we pray for ourselves, he said.
“God wants us to pray for a teacher, a principal, a coach - for people who are touching our lives,” he said.
Thirdly, in praying for souls, we ask for those who do not know Jesus to see what God will do in their life and to strengthen their heart, he said.
“God invites us, He indicts us, and He delights us,” Futral said. “Start your day with God and for the rest of the year make a commitment to meet with Him before you do anything else.”
After the sermon, groups organized themselves with one of the many guest ministers into prayer circles.
Futral pointed to Scripture in the Holy Bible, 2 Chronicles 7: 12-14 to emphasize the need for prayer – “And the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: ‘I have heard your prayer, and have chosen a place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.’ ”
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