Eight months ago, New Orleans church planting missionary Justin Haynes had no idea what Feb. 12-18, 2017, would have in store for him and his family. As far as he knew, the week he would be featured on the North American Mission Board’s prayer calendar would be an ordinary week of sharing Christ, preparing sermons and working extra hours at a second job.
Yet it was anything but ordinary.
“The very week that the focus was on me and our church, I was diagnosed with lymphoma and had surgery,” Haynes said. “But we got around 100 cards from people that week who were praying for us. To me, the prayer calendar was amazing.”
Haynes said the extra prayers helped him and his family understand that they weren’t alone in this battle. Haynes’ medical prognosis is good. He expects a full recovery and will continue to lead Refuge Church NOLA.
“In that time, there was a bit of anxiety and fear circling through our minds,” Haynes said. “To be able to bring in all of these cards and read them to my wife and children and let them see that all these people are praying for us was very encouraging.”
NAMB hopes to multiply that kind of prayer impact in the coming months through a new “Pray for Planters” initiative, aiming to mobilize 10,000 Southern Baptist churches to pray regularly for church plants throughout North America.
“Every church, no matter the size, can pray,” NAMB President Kevin Ezell said. “Nothing means more to a missionary than to know that believers are praying for them, for their families and for their ministry.”
By visiting the prayforplanters.com website, pastors and church leaders can choose either a city, state or college campus. After providing some basic information, NAMB will email a list of missionaries for whom the church can pray. Churches also will receive periodic updates about how God is moving in their chosen area. Individuals, meanwhile, can make prayer commitments using the same website.
In the process of praying, NAMB hopes more churches will become involved in church planting.
SOURCE: Tobin Perry