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Baptists aim to cover state in prayer

Wayne Moak knows his limitations.

The pastor of Clear Branch Baptist Church knows he can’t doanything to reverse secularism in government, stamp out corruptionand deceit or make neighbors love each other. He knows he can’tstand on the hearts of 2.9 million Mississippians.

But he knows who can. And Wednesday at 10 a.m., he went to thesteps of the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex to askHim.

“We can’t, but God can,” Moak said. “That’s the reason we’recoming together to pray.”

Moak, members of his church and representatives from Baptistchurches around Lincoln County numbered almost 200 strong Wednesdaymorning when they gathered on the courthouse steps for theBrookhaven installment of Covering Mississippi in Prayer, astatewide initiative encouraging people to begin each day withprayer. Hopes are the 2011 campaign of the Mississippi BaptistConvention Board will spur a spiritual awakening in the state andbring it closer to God.

Brookhaven was the 49th city to host a Covering Mississippi inPrayer program since it began on Jan. 3. The campaign began withhopes that 10,000 people would sign on and commit to morningprayers, but so far around 50,000 have penned their names on thepledge cards distributed at prayer rallies and churches statewide,said Dr. Jim Futral, executive director of MBCB.

“What we’re asking people to do is to make a commitment to meetwith God each morning before you meet with anybody else,” he said.”Not only can we cover Mississippi in prayer, we can cover everyday in prayer.”

The campaign is asking its prayer pledges to pray for threespecific things each morning before going out to meet the day -self, servants and souls. People should pray for their ownadvancement in God’s will, for national and state elected leadersand for the souls of non-Christians.

If Mississippians make an effort to pray intensely for God’spresence in Mississippi, the state will benefit, Futral said.

“This is who we are, where we live, our state. The stewardshipof our state and the work we do for God is vitally important,” hesaid.

Jack Foster believes it. He’s seen it happen.

The 64-year-old member of Harmony Baptist Church has for fiveyears served as a missionary to the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, astate where church attendance is abysmal compared toMississippi.

“We need to see our nation and state return to God and seek Hisface,” Foster said. “We need revival across this nation.”

Franklin Etheridge, a 70-year-old member of New Prospect BaptistChurch, believes the convention board’s prayer rallies will make adifference in Mississippi. The more and more people gather oncourthouse steps, the more attention will be drawn to God, hesaid.

“Just like the disciples distributed the fish and loaves – wehave the Word, and we’re to distribute it to the people,” hesaid.

If not, there’s no point in trying, said Harmony Baptist Churchmember Nancy Loper, 70.

“If we don’t all come together in prayer, we might as well giveup. Our country will be gone,” she said.