Martha Garcia: Grace launches prayer event

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For many churches, prayer is an important part of weekly worship. Grace Baptist Church wanted to shift the focus and give prayer a more prominent role among what they do as a church during services and all the time.

Beginning October 1, every Saturday and Sunday before services begin the church will host a prayer “power plant.” A special prayer only time, where attendees will come together and just pray. No music, no message; attendees will engage in a time entirely dedicated to prayer.

Steven Dixon has attended Grace for two years and volunteered to lead the Sunday morning “power plant” prayer session. When he heard about the idea he was very excited about the plan.

“The purpose is to pray that God would work through the preaching in the service, the music, through the other aspects of the service, and to pray for less distractions,” said Dixon.

Many churches take a time during worship to pray for prayer requests from parishioners. Some will focus on health issues, financial troubles, or relationship woes. The new prayer time, done directly before weekend services, will do none of that. It simply focuses on asking God to work through the service to reach those in attendance and touch their lives in some way.

Grace Baptist church leaders conceived the idea from a story of a well-known Baptist preacher from the late 1800s, C.H. Spurgeon.

The story goes Spurgeon took visitors to his London-based church down to a basement room in the church. He told visitors he was going to show them the “boiler room” or the “power plant” of the

C.H. Spurgeon

church, the place the energy came from for the ministry. In the room, nearly 400 people gathered every Sunday during worship services to pray for the pastors and attendees of the servic

e. The only duty was to pray that the worship service would be effective and reach the hearts of the attendees.

Spurgeon said it was the spiritual heating plant of the church and what powered the church: prayer.

“Prayer is something that plays a really big role in scripture and something huge in Christ’s life,” explained Jared Burkholder, pastor of Prayer and Mission at Grace. “This will help prayer be a bigger, essential component of everything we do here from our services on the weekend, to adult ministries, to children’s ministries.”

More prayer

Burkholder came on staff at Grace two years ago in the Student Ministry department, but transitioned six months ago to his current position. The church made the conscious decision to have a staff person specifically focused on providing opportunities to make prayer a regular part of everyday life at Grace and to nudge members to think of prayer more often, at church and home.

“I love the idea of the church family coming to church on the weekend and knowing there are people here who have already been praying for them,” said Burkholder. “The sessions will have a particular focus for that weekend and pray God uses the sermon to be apparent in the lives of the church family.”

The “power plant” prayer sessions will be hosted once on Saturdays at 4:45 p.m. before the 5:30 and 7:10 p.m. services. Then another will be held Sunday at 8:15 a.m. before the 9 and 10:45 a.m. services.

“I’ve seen the power of prayer in my own life,” explained Dixon. “Too often people fall into praying just for meals. God says to pray and pray often. I’m excited as to the possibilities.”

Burkholder said the church has plans to begin incorporating more forms and opportunities for prayer in other ways. He is in the planning phase of putting together an event for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, held in November.

They hope to grow the Power Plant ministry, which they think will start out relatively small, attracting a dozen attendees at each session. They hope one day, the Grace prayer “power plant” will also have hundreds and hundreds of attendees praying to “power” Grace, much like Spurgeon’s church.

“For me personally, prayers express our trust in God and is a means to thank him,” explained Burkholder. “It’s not that we are moving God to do something he wouldn’t normally do, but in prayer we get to participate with him and what he’s doing as we cry out for his help. It’s a cool reminder, prayer is not just something important to us, but something we rely on, and something that is the foundation of what we believe.”

The Grace prayer “power plant” events will begin Saturday and Sunday October 1 and 2, at 4:45 p.m. and 8:15 a.m. Grace Baptist is located at 22833 Copper Hill Dr.

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