LOUISVILLE, Ky.- As part of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminarys Great Commission Week, more than a 100 students gathered for a 24 hour prayer vigil for missions. Throughout the week, participants focused on both domestic and international missions as they voluntarily convened to pray. Coordinators of the event erected a tent in the middle of the campus where flags from nations around the world hung to underscore the need for intercession on behalf of the nations.
"One of the most important things we can do is to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, for the missionaries and the people of all these different countries," said John Moody, a master of divinity student from Youngstown, Ohio. "We can make a difference overseas and in parts of the world we can't imagine just by praying for a fellow believer."
Jason Lee, coordinator of missions activities at the seminary, said approximately 120 students filled 30-minute blocks of prayer over the 24-hour period late April. At least two professors brought their classes for a focused time of prayer.
"Gospel proclamation is the work of missions," Lee said. "But you see Scripturally that prayer is accompanied with it, that God is sovereignly going to work through the prayer of His saints. Prayer, from a biblical standpoint, plays a role in the completion of the Great Commission."
Heather Castlen, a master of divinity student from Pineville, Ky. and vigil participant accessed prayer as a powerful tool for missionaries around the world.
"Prayer is such a powerful tool," she said. "God honors that. He wants us to be totally dependent on Him, and prayer is one of the ways we show our need for Him and His working because we know it's not us."
Along with prayer, the students at the Seminary reach out to the world in direct missions field. Nearly 50 students will spend their summer on short term and long term mission fields before returning in the fall.
According to Lorie Looney, a master of divinity student from Tallassee, Ala., the passion for missions at Southern goes hand in hand with a passion for prayer.
"Your desire for missions begins with your prayer life," she said. "As we draw closer to God, our eyes are opened to see His heart and to see His desire.
"The Scriptures tell us that His desire is that all will come to know Him. In Revelation it says that the nations will be around His throne. And as we pray we get to see His eyes, His heart for the nations, and that in turn grows the desire within us to know Him and to go out into the world and be His hands and feet."
By Pauline J.