“Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Agape Praise Fellowship, a SEND Baltimore church plant which meets at Sandalwood Elementary School in Essex, Maryland, believes strongly in the power of prayer — so much so, that they are having nightly prayer meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ten to twelve people from at least three families faithfully participate.
“Prayer goes on through the week from Sunday to Sunday,” said Pastor Nehemiah Cole. “It’s amazing to see what God has done.”
“We start at 9 p.m. with greetings and take a few minutes to have fun, maybe tell a joke or two, and then I lead worship for five to 10 minutes. Everyone has an opportunity to lead the prayer time, beginning with Scripture reading, then praying for himself or herself, the nation, and leaders. Following that ten minute session, the participants share prayer requests, testimonies, and a word of encouragement. At the end, they give it back to me and I pray for all, and we sing a song while the time is going off,” Cole explained. They use Zoom’s free 40-minutes application and Cole likes it that everyone is singing as the screen goes blank. The late-evening prayer meetings are like a bedtime prayer, Cole said.
God is opening many doors through the pandemic and through prayer. As the church “gathers” on Sundays through Facebook, they are drawing sometimes as many as 1000 people from around the world, including Africa. “We really thank God for that,” Cole said. The church also has online Bible studies on Wednesday.
Cole also met with a young man in Washington D.C., recently, and shared the Gospel with him. The young man accepted Jesus as his Savior. “To my surprise, he joined us during our prayer time on Zoom. Now I am discipling him every day to make sure he’s connected. We are trying to do what we can do and God has been faithful providing our needs, ” Cole rejoiced.
“God is being faithful. He has never let us down. I give God all the praise,” said Cole.
When asked about resuming in-person gatherings, Cole said he has been in touch with a school custodian and learned that the facility will not be available until at least June 22. However, Cole received direction to check with the county police about authorizing outside worship. He is praying that God will open a door for the church to be able to have a service in front of the school, which faces a big community complex. This would offer a tremendous platform for sharing the Gospel.
North Glen Community Church in Glen Burnie, Maryland, offers Facebook Live Bible story reading for kids. Children’s Ministry Leader Kim Gayleord said she is finding that many adults join in as well. Many don’t have a Bible background, she said, and hearing the kids’ stories gives them a way to learn in an easy, non-intimidating environment.
To keep kids focused on Jesus, Glen Burnie Baptist Church, in Maryland, has coloring pages available each week on their “Kids Zone” page.
Electric sign offers community encouragement
White Marsh Baptist Church in Perry Hall, Maryland, is offering words of encouragement with their electric sign. In addition to the “Keep Calm, Wear a Mask,” sign, the church also displays John 14:27, “Tell someone you love them,” and “Praying for our postal and delivery workers!”
“God had one Son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.” Augustine of Hippo
“If God gives you a platform where you’re influencing others, you need to steward it well.” Johnny Hunt
“Samuel Cho and his wife Young, during a mission trip to Nepal this April, crossed a chain link suspension bridge in Butwan and entered the world of the “untouchables.” The Chos started the first Nepalese Baptist church in the United States called Nepal Church of Baltimore. In addition they have planted a Bhutani church in Baltimore.” (BaptistLIFE, August 2009)
“Churches provided hands-on help to Haiti earthquake victims by filling Baptist Global Relief ‘buckets of hope.’ The churches each packed each five-gallon bucket with selected food that would provide enough for a Haitian family for a week. They brought the buckets to the Baptist Center. From there, the buckets traveled to Florida, then Haiti.” (BaptistLIFE, March 2010)