Among Christians, prayer walking around towns and neighborhoods is a common practice – it’s a way to see an area’s particular needs and cover them in prayer.
BSC photo by Emily Rojas
Some of the men on the Nov. 15 prayer tour of Greensboro gather at a church’s steps to pray.
But when a group at the annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina decided to prayer walk around the city of Greensboro in under two hours, they decided it would be easier to take a bus.
On Nov. 15, two buses full of Annual Meeting attendees embarked on a guided prayer tour around Greensboro to pray for needs in the areas of church planting, church revitalization, church bodies, unreached peoples and college campuses. Each bus drove through a separate “pocket of lostness” as identified by the convention’s Strategic Focus Team. Four of the top 30 pockets of lostness in North Carolina are located in Greensboro, so the buses traveled through areas inhabited by some of the largest populations of lost people in the state.
This “Pray Greensboro” prayer vision bus tour was organized and planned through the cooperative efforts of the Piedmont Baptist Association and the Baptist State Convention’s Strategic Focus Team and Office of Prayer for Evangelization and Spiritual Awakening.
Brad Roderick, director of missions of the Piedmont Baptist Association, was the guide for one of the buses – he gave passengers information about the sites they passed so they could better pray for the area. Roderick’s bus passed by five main areas that needed prayer: North Carolina A&T State University, 16th Street Mosque, apartments that are home to many refugees, Northside Baptist Church and Magnolia Street Church.
These landmarks were areas of prominence – North Carolina A&T State University has been named the best of the Historically Black Universities in America; 16th Street Mosque is the largest of the six mosques in Guilford County. As the buses passed these landmarks, passengers offered up prayers for the needs of students, for the mosque’s 450 members and for God’s Spirit to fall on both areas.
“Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world,” Roderick said, quoting 1 John 4:4. “I pray that Christians would have the confidence of the Lord to share (the gospel) with them.”
The churches that the groups visited were also places in significant need of prayer – Northside Baptist Church is a church in desperate need of revitalization. J.S. “Bud” Parrish, the church’s interim pastor, has helped the church grow in outreach to its neighborhood over the past two years. He’s expanded Northside’s homeless outreach, feeding about 170 homeless people each week.
But still, the need for revitalization at Northside is great.
“There are 19 churches on the north side of (Greensboro); now 17 are in decline,” Parrish said. “That’s why we’re not reaching this community. So pray for revitalization.”
Passengers also prayed for revitalization at Magnolia Street Church. The church has a rich history but in more recent years has seen a transition in its community’s demographics. Attendees prayed not only for those who are new to the city, but also for those who have remained in the area as it’s changed.
“It was very evident the Spirit was working in individuals and in the group, just bringing our hearts together,” said Gretchen Roderick, who is married to Brad Roderick and was a contributor in orchestrating the prayer tour. “I am anxious to see how (God) is going to respond to all the prayers we’ve lifted up.”
More prayer vision tours are being planned for 2017 in different lost pockets across North Carolina. For more information on the 2017 prayer tours, contact the Strategic Focus Team or the Office of Prayer at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina: (800) 395-5102.