Day of Prayer for SBC annual event for Hispanic group
By DAVID S. LEMA Sr.
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SAN ANTONIO (BP)—"Great Is Thy Faithfulness" in Spanish rang out through the halls of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio June 11. The chorus was not coming from the main hall where the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference was underway, but from a small group of prayer warriors in Room 211—the designated SBC prayer room.
A group of more than 50 people, mostly Hispanic, met in the room to conduct the first pre-SBC prayer meeting sponsored by the National Hispanic Fellowship of Southern Baptist Churches.
David Cobb, an evangelist from First Baptist Church in Sevierville, Tenn., recommended a process and the topics for small-group prayer. The room was prepared with tables and materials to aid and inform those praying.
Elias Bracamonte from Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida en Jesus in Topeka, Kan., translated Cobb's words into Spanish.
Cobb said he "loved the experience" of praying with Hispanic believers.
"We believe that God is going to send revival and a great awakening to this nation," Cobb said. He noted that Hispanics are "demonstrative of their love towards God" and it shows in their prayers.
After a time of prayer in small groups, Augusto Valverde, president of the Hispanic fellowship, gathered the group and asked for specific prayer requests from those gathered.
With tears in his eyes, Ernesto Flores, a member of Iglesia Bautista Buena Voluntad in San Antonio, came to grips with what he described as a call to ministry on his life which he had been negating and fighting for some time.
"Since I was 13 years old I have been running away from God's call," Flores said. "During this prayer meeting something happened in my heart and I felt the strong call of God to fulltime ministry." After his short testimony, the prayer attendees surrounded Flores and laid hands on his head and shoulders and prayed for him.
Joseph and Janet La Salandra, of Payson, Ariz., neither of whom speak Spanish, entered the room while people were praying and joined in.
"I needed to pray," Joseph shared. "This is a divine moment. God is calling us to unity. God hears our prayers in any language."
Joseph said he "felt moved to pray for his Hispanic brothers in ministry and to see ministry from the perspective of the Mexican pastors and believers where he lives."
The prayer meeting will be an annual event, Valverde said, noting that the Hispanic fellowship has approved a day of prayer on the Monday prior to each year's SBC annual meeting.