Maywood pastor sees prayer as key to graham crusade
By Allen Palmeri
February 3, 2004
INDEPENDENCE – Many people view Billy Graham solely as an evangelist, and rightly so. The Heart of America Billy Graham Crusade that is coming June 17-20 to Kansas City is all about Graham’s preaching.
But Bob Spradling, pastor, Maywood Baptist Church, Independence, sheds light on another aspect of the crusade that may not get as much press.
“The prayer emphasis and the evangelism emphasis are welded together," Spradling said.
Maywood is a church that runs a little more than 300 in Sunday worship. Spradling will have been there 20 years come June 17—the first day of the crusade at Arrowhead Stadium. He is serving as the crusade’s prayer committee chairman.
Spradling, who oversees a group of pastors involved in a prayer movement within Kansas City, said his goal is to have a network of prayer in the heart of America, with a prayer captain overseeing a prayer emphasis in each church. Each person is to have five non-Christian friends they are praying for in an effort to have them accompany them to any of the crusade’s four adult meetings and one children’s meeting.
One of Spradling’s friends participated in a similar effort at a Graham London crusade and saw great results.
“He told me that they had more people come to Christ before the crusade than they had during the crusade," Spradling said.
Kansas City is known for its Pentecostal prayer chains and innovative, intentional prayer movements like the International House of Prayer. Spradling is a Missouri Baptist pastor who says he does not shy away from his charismatic friends when they volunteer to help, as they are doing now.
“You can’t throw rocks at the people who will spend 24 hours in prayer, 7 days a week, 365 days out of the year," he said. “They are very generous."
He hopes to see 100 of his church members go through training that would certify them to become counselors at the crusade. The overall goal for the crusade is to train 20,000 counselors.
“That’s a huge goal," Spradling said. “That means every church really needs to emphasize it and work hard toward it."