Global Day of Prayer coming to Busch Stadium
By Lee Warren
April 5, 2005
ST. LOUIS — Global Day of Prayer is coming to St. Louis, and a key Missouri Baptist organizer wants to get the word out to all interested prayer warriors.
Harold Hendrick, a member of First Baptist Church, Ferguson, and a board member of Mission Metro St. Louis, which is part of the national Mission America coalition, said the first step in celebrating the Global prayer day at Busch Stadium May 15 is a prayer breakfast from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. April 13 at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis.
Dolphus Weary, executive director of Mission Mississippi, W. Wilson Goode, former mayor of Philadelphia, and Robert Bakke, international leader in the Global Day of Prayer birthed in Africa, will speak with pastors, civic leaders, and other Christian leaders about the Global Day of Prayer.
Hendrick said the event is meant to advance the Gospel in prayer and to promote Christ-like racial harmony.
Businessman Graham Power helped organize an event in Cape Town, South Africa in 2001 called “Day of Repentance and Prayer” in which 45,000 Christians from all denominations packed a rugby stadium. It spread to eight other areas in South Africa the following year. By 2004, 22 million believers in all 56 African countries came together in prayer.
This year, more than 100 countries have committed to participate in what is now being called the Global Day of Prayer. The United States is one of those countries—with as many as 23 states planning to participate.
The prayer focus will be on asking God for forgiveness for racial and denominational barriers that separate believers.
“We underscore that it’s not to try to eliminate distinctives and bring us into some forced artificial agreement on everything,” Hendrick said. “It’s just a oneness of spirit with the Holy Spirit where you, the Holy Spirit and I come together and say, ‘We are one in Christ. We are different in a lot of ways, but we are one in Him.’ Which I think is an answer to Jesus’ prayer (in John 17) for that kind of unity.”
Mitch Jackson, president of the Missouri Baptist Convention and pastor of Miner Baptist Church in Sikeston, agreed that Missouri Baptists need to work with other evangelical denominations as long as they don’t stray from orthodoxy.
“I believe very strongly that the Bible teaches you must be born again, that you are not saved by baptism, that you are not saved by being a good person, and that you are not saved by going to church,” Jackson said. “I’m never willing to compromise on those issues. But within the focus of ‘you must be born again’ in a salvation experience, then followed by baptism and not depending on an infant baptism for salvation—within those contexts, I can work with anybody who can agree with me on those things.
“Evangelical Christians need to come together to get the Gospel to every area of the world. I know that happens on our mission fields. I’ve got missionary friends and they work with other denominations on the mission field to get things accomplished that they couldn’t accomplish by themselves. So, evangelical Christians need to come together to do that.”
Jackson also sees the need to continue the work of breaking down racial barriers.
“Sikeston has been a very racially divided community,” Jackson said. “And it has always been my goal for our church to reach people from all races and all areas of our city. God is beginning to do that in an awesome way. We’re beginning to see that cultural breakthrough of racial barriers and I’m thrilled about it. I’ve been praying for it.”
Christians all over Missouri will have a chance to pray together in a similar fashion, starting with the April 13 prayer breakfast.
Hendrick encouraged “people with a heart for their region” to attend the breakfast. That includes “people who love their neighborhood, but who can think beyond it—who want to reach out and cross the lines in ways that they have not done before.
“The Holy Spirit in each one of us wants to pull us into a oneness that is not a cloning, but an acknowledgement of our respective gifts, skills, and anointing where we all have specialties but an awareness that nobody has it all so we all need each other.”
To register for the prayer breakfast, visit the Mission Metro St. Louis website at: www.praystl.org. Registration cost is $20.