On the Same Team: New York Congregation Promotes Prayer for Other Churches

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Northeast

By Carl Stagner

The ongoing series of Facebook posts reflect the heart of Busti Church of God. Consider one example: “The local church we are praying for this week is Jamestown Alliance Church.” But, wait?! That’s not even a sister Church of God congregation. Can they do that? Of course, they can. And they should. Perhaps we all should! After all, Jesus is the subject and “we reach our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one.” Still, such a social media strategy is certainly uncommon among churches of any affiliation or denomination. Yet that’s precisely what our Jamestown congregation of the Church of God is doing, and they’re also praying each week for a different local business. It’s important to Busti Church of God that people find Jesus and that their community thrives. What better way to realize a vision like that than to approach the throne of grace on behalf of local churches and businesses?

“When I moved to Jamestown in 1995,” Pastor Roy Ferguson recounts, “I brought this ministry with me from the Tanner Street Church of God in Sikeston, Missouri, where our then senior pastor, Carl Addison, began this ministry of focusing on families within the church for whom we as a church were encouraged to pray. We simply expanded it to other Christian churches in our area as a way to show that we are united in our goal of reaching people for Christ in our community. In 2008, when our country was mired in recession, we decided to begin praying for local businesses, that they would see profitability in a very difficult time.”

Jamestown Alliance Church

Social media has proved to be a reliable means and accessible mechanism by which Busti Church of God can inform followers of each week’s church and business to pray for, respectively. A picture of the church or business accompanies the prayer prompt. Not only does the social media series rally the Church of God congregation to intercede for other believers in their community, but it also inspires unity and provides a witness to the watching world that Jesus people look beyond surface-level differences to the heart of the woman or man made in the image of God.

“First of all,” Pastor Roy expounds, “we ask churches and business how we can specifically pray for them. But if they don’t respond, our prayers for other churches are that God would bless them in their endeavor to preach and live the gospel so pre-Christians in our area would step across the line and choose to live for Jesus. We also pray that they will honor Jesus in all they do in order to be a Christ-honoring witness in our community. For local businesses that don’t respond, we pray that they will be profitable as they carry the great stewardship burden of employing people in our community. When they are profitable, our hope is that they, and the jobs they have created, will be a blessing to the economic sector of our community.”

Local businesses featured for prayer by Busti Church of God.

Pastor Roy cites James 5:16, Romans 12:10, 1 Corinthians 12:25, and Galatians 6:2 concerning the purpose behind their prayer ministry. He tells the stories of several ways in which God clearly responded favorably to their prayers. Though such stories don’t always make their way back to Busti Church of God, the congregation is overjoyed when they do hear of the impact. Whether it was the missionary who encountered Pastor Roy at an IYC and reported how Busti’s prayers for her had kept her from ending her assignment early, or the struggling local business predisposed to mocking the invitation to pray but witnessed a miraculous turnaround in profitability, these and other stories underscore the infinite value of intercession.

“I also remember a local church that called us to thank us for praying for them as they were just launching their church,” Pastor Roy concludes. “They were surprised that we would have chosen to pray for them, and felt challenged to view other churches not as competition but as co-laborers for Jesus. [These stories are] always a great affirmation and motivator to continue praying for people who we may not know much about, but for whose lives God has a plan and vision.”

Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.

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