A Praying Church
Have you noticed that some of Faith’s members are looking slimmer, healthier, more buffed? Would you believe that their appearance is an answer to a BIG prayer? Last March 4, small prayer groups prayed “that all of Faith Baptist Church will be good stewards of our relationships, our bodies, our families, our homes, our resources, and everything that God has given us to manage” (emphasis added). That is indeed a BIG prayer!
Did God answer 100 percent of those requests in 100 percent of our membership—I like to think yes; some of us are just slower to respond, but the Holy Spirit is still working, still answering this BIG prayer.
And speaking of 100 percent of our membership, that membership has increased to at least 1,000, largely in answer to BIG prayers, like this one, also from Mar. 4, 2012: “That souls will be saved, new believers baptized, and that discipleship will happen at every level.”
Or how about this BIG prayer, one that cannot be answered in the short-term: “That Faith Baptist Church will have the courage to see the FX vision all the way to the end—an entire community changed by the gospel”! All the children who have believed on Jesus Christ through the FX ministry are the fruits of this BIG prayer and the hope for “an entire community changed by the gospel.” Now we’re asked to pray for and give toward establishing the first Faith Baptist Refuge, a courageous step toward fulfillment of the FX vision.
On Mar. 25, 2012, Faith members prayed “that God blesses our April Faith Day offering on Sunday.” With an offering of over $130,000, God’s answer was a big YES! (You can read specifically about April Faith Day 2012 here.)
BIG Answers from the Past
Dot Malcolm, one of the church’s charter members, recalls some BIG answers to prayer.
One of our deacons, Pete Jenks, was critically injured in an accident. This was when our church was new. He had a head injury; he had broken ribs, a broken hip. It was touch and go. His wife, a nurse, stood by him, took him home in a full body cast, she was working full-time, they had four children, they were living in a mobile home. We just prayed and prayed. She had to teach him the alphabet all over again; she had to teach him to feed himself—it was just amazing. Yet he had a quick recovery. And to this day you would never know about the injuries because he has been able to compensate because now his brain causes him to read backwards, but he’s done it so for so many years now that he’s used to it. That was a big prayer request and a big thing for our church to go through when we were just new.
Even finding places to meet—God answered those prayers. God answered prayers for property. God answered prayers for our first pastor, Missionary Pastor Willard Benedict. Then when we had some really challenging times come along, God helped us through those. And then when we were two years without a pastor, God sent such wonderful men to the pulpit at that time who just kept our church going.
A large prayer group formed, and we prayed and prayed for a pastor. God sent us Pastor Osborne, and that’s probably one of the biggest blessings our church has ever experienced, because he has taught us and shown us what we were and what we should be.
Pastor is very plain about God not being pleased with a critical spirit, to love people where they are, and to try to see them as God sees them, where they’re going to be. All the discipleship classes available and Bible study groups available we never had before. And the programs—it seems like a lot of programs that our church is involved in, but they’re all helping to show people Jesus Christ. That’s our purpose. And they’re tools, and we’re just so privileged to have the people who can head up those programs and keep them going and give them insight as to where they want to be in a few years with that. And, of course, our pastor is a visionary. He stretches our faith, and that’s a good thing. So we have been challenged through the years, and God has been faithful to lead us along through the good and the bad times.
We’re so thankful for where we are today, and we know that we have much to learn, and we’re eager to learn, eager to continue learning, and to be able to just serve the Lord on this corner and to reach out to the whole world where He sends us.
It is no surprise that Faith has been and continues to be a praying church.
Dot says that large prayer group—about 30—met before every evening service. “We were just praying mainly for a pastor at that time,” she says. Over the years, “that prayer group has dwindled down to where there are two or three of us now, but we still meet—mainly to pray for different individuals in our church—people who are ill or people who are hurting or any specific need in our church.” This group still meets every Sunday evening at 5:30.
‘BIG Prayers’ Groups
People in “BIG prayers” groups met the first three months of 2012 and have been meeting in these early months of 2013. Volunteers lead the groups, which comprise the leader and those he or she invites to join; and they meet when and where they choose. That’s not to say the groups are closed to newcomers. If you are interested in joining a “BIG prayers” group, contact the church office.
Other Prayer Groups
Most of the “BIG prayers groups” disband after April FaithDay
(the first Sunday in April), but the Faith family has plenty of opportunities to join other prayer groups that meet regularly.
I am privileged to attend a monthly meeting to pray for six or eight of our missionaries. Most of them work in connection with the USA. Then, once a month on Mornings for Missions, we meet together and remember the camp ministry at Camp Gilead and organizations that carry on missionary work if we have some requests from them.—Lorraine Hooser
In a letter dated Feb. 27, 2013, Pastor Osborne wrote:
The Deacons and Prayer Leaders and I are urging and pleading with all of you to enter the month of March on your knees with us for a 31 day season of INTENSE PRAYER. Every day will find us—and I hope everyone of our church members—on our knees fervently praying for God to save souls in Winter Haven, praying that the baptismal waters would be constantly used, praying that God would show His powerful and victorious hand in establishing the first Faith Baptist Refuge, establishing Faith Baptist Christian Academy, and building a new auditorium that will be used to transform lives for generations to come. That Intense Prayer time will culminate on Easter Sunday March 31st with a service of Glorious Praise. I pray you and your family will join us in those days of INTENSE PRAYER.
Our leadership has BIG faith, so they’re not afraid to ask God for BIG things. As a church family we have a BIG future of ministry to look forward to—because God gave the vision, honors our faith, and is glorified in granting our BIG requests.
How About You?
Which prayer group are you a part of? To learn more about any of these prayer groups please contact our church office.