According to church members who chatted about the prayer walk on social media, about 1,700 members of Fellowship Memphis prayer-walked around the city on Sunday. They prayed at the University of Memphis, schools, intersections, and parks. Some remained at the church and prayed for the city’s government.
What was remarkable about this bold, godly move is that this young pastor stopped at prayer to God. He didn’t tell the people to preach on the street corners or witness to everyone they saw. He didn’t tell them to pick up trash along the way. (All of those things are good and need to be done, and some of the people probably did those things spontaneously as they were led of the Lord.) But this pastor had the wisdom to get the people to praying first because prayer is where the power is.
Many of us as Christians in America love doing stuff, but we don’t pray much. Well, the truth is, we need God to do something now. And God says in His word in Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Mark 11:22-24 says, “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
E.M. Bounds said, “What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use— men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.”
Here is the full text of what Pastor Bryan Loritts’ said about this bold and godly move:
Hi, my name is Bryan Loritts, lead pastor of Fellowship Memphis. I want to thank you for taking the time to subscribe to our app. It’s humbling to me and our team personally to know that our reach extends to people like you and to people from all over the world.
You probably subscribed and pushed on our app today thinking you were going to get a message from this previous Sunday, and that is a good expectation to have. But I want you to know there is no message from this previous Sunday. The reason for that is about a couple thousand of us, across three different campuses [and] four different services — left the building. We left the building for one reason — to pray.
There is a moving scene in the Film, Malcolm X. I don’t know if you ever saw it, but whenever I see this scene in this film, it always touches me. Malcolm X, this devout Muslim, is standing outside the doors of a church in New York City; he is waiting to recruit. And he is there right when the doors of the church open up to let the people out, and he says in so many words, ‘so y’all spent all those hours in church and look at you, nothing has changed about the community.’ That was kind of his schtick to say ‘if you want to be a part of something that is going to actually make a different in the community, join the Muslim movement.’
Every time I see this scene in Malcolm X, there is something about it that just pierces my heart because there is some truth in Malcolm’s indictment on the church. So many churches in so many communities and yet so little change. I think part of the reason is, at least in my experience, that there are so many churches who spend time having church that they are not actually being the church. I’m convicted personally about this.
Several weeks ago, you may have heard the message that we posted. I stood before our church and just kinda shared our vision for the church, for this current ministry year and it’s a vision to be bold. We want to just take some time this year to go back to our first century foundation and look at that church in the book of Acts. If there is one word that describes them, it was the word bold. They were bold in their witnessing. They were bold in their church planting. They were bold in their praying. This year at Fellowship, we’re saying, let’s just not talk about it, let’s be about it. Let’s be bold. Let’s take some bold steps.
So, the other morning, we literally took that to heart. We literally took bold steps, left the building, and we prayed. Why would we leave a building on Sunday morning to pray all over our city? Because we actually believe that there is power when the people of God get together in unison, on one accord, and bombard Heaven with prayer. So, all across our city, we prayed for better schools. Literally, some groups went to high school campuses and middle schools and elementary schools praying that God would watch over them and would strengthen them. We’ve been praying against abortion. We’ve been praying for stronger homes. We’ve been praying that God will care for the orphans in our city. That’s what we did just the other Sunday, and we are begging God to move.
But, we’re also praying because we want to visibly demonstrate to the city of Memphis that we care. I pastor in the Bible Belt and every Sunday morning people who don’t even go to church pass by all kinds of churches, and of course, what I mean by that is, they pass by buildings. You already know that, but the church as it is described in the New Testament, is not a building; it’s people. So, we thought it would be a strong statement this morning to instead of people passing by buildings, what would it look like for them to pass another kind of church — a truer church — an army of people gathered in little clusters across the city praying.
So, thanks again for subscribing. We’re honored that you’re supporting our ministry and we hope that we have deposited some things in you. Maybe you might be a little frustrated that there’s no message this morning or this past Sunday morning, but we didn’t want to just talk about it, we wanted to be about it. The church has left the building.
Members of Fellowship Memphis Tweeted about the Prayer Walk with #FMPrayerWalk
About Fellowship Memphis
Fellowship Memphis is striving to impact the world for the glory of God through equipping people to live lives that are: Gospel Centered, Pursuing Christ, Aligning Biblically, Loving Others, and Making Disciples.
Our church began as a dream in the summer of 2003. God drew together people from within Memphis and from around the country to pursue a new expression of a Biblical functioning community in the city of Memphis. The dream was a church where people from all walks of life and all seasons of life could grasp the gospel at a transformational level and could live out the gospel for the welfare of the city and God’s fame among the nations. That core group begged God to gather a group that looked like Memphis with her beautiful and powerful racial, socio-economic and generational diversity.
Our church launched on November 2, 2003. Countless lives have been transformed, equipped and unleashed to live out the gospel. New chapters of our story are being written every day. (http://www.fellowshipmemphis.org/)