About 10 years ago, Steve Fahs had “a remarkable encounter with God,” in which it was clear that God was telling him that he needed to call his congregation to prayer.
However, the pastor of Valley Baptist Church, Lakeland, Minnesota, struggled with how to do that.
Lakeland is locatedeast of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) and on the Wisconsin border along the St. Croix River. The commuter town has a population of about 2000. Each week, about 100 people worship at Valley Baptist, which was founded in 1960.
The church started with a monthly online prayer vigil, during which people committed to praying for an hour for the congregation’s and others’ needs. This helped lay a foundation of prayer.
Another way the Converge North Central church has increased its devotion to prayer is by adding a prayer deacon. This past January, she helped implement the church’s participation in Converge’s 21 Days of Prayer.
As the church was going through 21 Days of Prayer, it was also dealing with some pretty significant conflict. Fahs said the congregation was impacted both personally and corporately, and they will start going through the new prayer guide, Praying the King’s Agenda, together on New Year’s Day.
‘Praying for things that can’t be answered without the obvious hand of God’
During 21 Days of Prayer, Converge churches, congregations, leaders and missionaries from around the world will pray for God’s leading in our lives, our churches, our movement and our mission fields. Riverwood Church, Waverly, Iowa, is among the churches that have participated in 21 Days of Prayer since it was first introduced movement-wide in January 2018.
“I loved the idea of starting the new year in prayer,” said Erin Bird, who planted Riverwood in 2014. “I’ve been looking for things that can continue to help my church family grow in the spiritual disciplines. And I saw 21 Days of Prayer as an opportunity to really try to encourage people to devote themselves to prayer and the Word.”
One of the things Riverwood Church will be praying about in 2020 is buying a building. The church currently meets at the Bremer County Fairgrounds, but the fairgrounds is planning to relocate during the fall of 2021, which would leave the church “homeless.”
“Even if we had more than two more years at the fairgrounds, we are pushing the limits of the building we currently rent, so we could use more space, especially if we continue to grow,” Bird said. “Having our own building in the community would give us a greater presence and would probably help some people see us a ‘real’ church.”
Hope Church, Sharon, Massachusetts, and another local church will partner together before and during 21 Days of Prayer.
The churches will meet together for an hour of prayer on Wednesday nights from December 4-January 8. Both churches will encourage their members to spend time reading and praying through the Praying the King’s Agenda guide, starting January 5. Both pastors will speak during a revival service.
Hope Church pastor Francis Balla said the churches will be praying for:
Revival in their personal and church corporate lives
Greater unity among the churches in Sharon for the community outreach
Hope Church to become more missional and engage in active outreach both in Sharon and beyond
Grace Baptist Church, Bristol, Connecticut, will begin its 21 Days of Prayer on January 5. The church will also have a three-week sermon series called What is My Agenda? On each Friday of the 21 days, the church will have an hourlong time of praise and prayer focused on others and based on the Psalms.
January 10’s focus will be on the church’s families and its missionaries
January 17’s focus will be on the church and its sister churches in Converge
January 24’s focus will be on the communities the church serves, the U.S. government and persecuted Christians throughout the world
On each of the three Wednesday mornings during the 21 days, the church will be open from 6-8 a.m. so that people can stop by to pray or receive prayer before work.
Thomas Bush, lead pastor of Bayside Baptist Church, Superior, Wisconsin, said, “We want to pray for things that can’t be answered without the obvious hand of God.” Here are some of the things they will be praying for:
A gospel movement in their church and community
50 baptisms in 2020 (they average 10-20 per year)
God to continue to bless and grow their church plant in Duluth, Minnesota (Hope City Church)
The church to continue to find tangible ways to impact our community
Their prayer services to be “standing room only”
Rod Ankrom, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, said his church will have two primary prayer focuses: For spiritual renewal and for the church to fully accomplish its mission of joyfully pointing people to Christ, with the goal to pray for those who do not know Jesus (whether locally or around the world).
Daniel Wentworth, lead pastor of Woodlands Community Church, Homewood, Illinois, shared these things his church will be praying for:
The unity of the church (locally, Converge MidAmerica and Converge)
Woodlands’ leadership; for Converge MidAmerica executive minister Gary Rohrmayer, his family and team; for Converge president Scott Ridout, his family and team
The third Great Awakening in America, offering themselves as the Lord’s heart, mind, mouth, hands and feet
Those who are far from God to know him — locally, nationally and internationally
Woodlands’ building renovation, both renewal and new construction, in particular for the finances and fulfillment of its purpose to reach its community for Christ
Church of Celebration, Maricopa, Arizona, has been given 10-12 acres of land in a subdivision that has yet to be built. The church plans to use the land to build a permanent facility. Care ministry director Andy Lockridge said the holdup is that the subdivision is in a floodplain, and the floodplain issues need to be resolved before building in the subdivision can take place. The entities involved in resolving the floodplain issue include the federal government, the state of Arizona, Pinal County, the city of Maricopa and the Ak-Chin Indian Community.
“To get all these entities together to discuss and resolve this issue will be a huge task,” Lockridge said. “We are praying that our city manager, Rick Horst, will be aggressive in seeking to resolve this issue and getting people to the table to talk.”
The prayers are as diverse as Converge’s 1400+ churches. But imagine what could happen when men, women and children from throughout our movement across the globe come together in prayer. Will you and your church join us in 21 Days of Prayer? As we fully submit to God in prayer together, he will display his person and his power in unprecedented ways to advance the gospel so more people can meet, know and follow Jesus.
In this video, Converge president Scott Ridout invites you, your church leaders and your church to join us in 21 Days of Prayer. Learn more and participate.
Michael Smith, Converge Content Specialist
Michael Smith serves as Converge’s content specialist. He has nearly two decades in the newspaper publishing industry. Michael worked as a copy editor and designer for the Tampa Tribune for more than a dozen years. He also was a member of the editorial staff of Florida Baptist Witness and other publications across the Southeast.