by | Dec 2, 2023 | Church

Men from four Lafayette churches gather to pray for Lafayette

Competition for men’s time on Saturdays in Acadiana is strong.  This is especially true in the Fall.  Little leagues, hunting, tailgating, honey-do’s and sleeping-in all jostle for time.  Conventional wisdom is that gathering men to pray on Saturday mornings would require divine intervention.  Who else could stifle the snooze button temptation? 

The twenty men who gathered early this Saturday morning to pray would agree with the conventional wisdom.  Men came to First Baptist Church in Milton from local Anglican, Baptist and Presbyterian churches whose teachings emphasize God’s sovereignty in all things.  As such, and true to their “soli Deo gloria” (glory to God alone) tradition, each would likely acknowledge dependence upon His grace in defeating the snooze button and living out, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16) on this Saturday morning.

This session of the Men’s Prayer Hour was the third and final ecumenical prayer gathering this year.  Prior sessions centered on prayer for Acadiana’s families and its churches.  Trinity Anglican Church hosted in September followed by Christ Church of Acadiana in October.  Today’s prayers focused on government, the third of God’s created institutions. 

After a greeting and prayer by First Baptist’s Pastor Matt Palmer, the men sang a cappella a rousing version of Martin Luther’s classic hymn “A Mighty Fortress.” 

Pastor Matt Palmer

Next, the pastors and laymen took turns praying in “open mike” format over the course of an hour.  Prayers included declarations of Jesus as King and thanksgiving to God for establishing subordinate authorities for the good and freedom of this community.  Several fervent prayers also lamented the unlawful acts of government authorities and asked God to both change hearts and to raise up faithful public officials.  Mateo Atwi prayed specifically by name for the president, federal and state officials, and our incoming Mayor-President Monique Boulet.  Finally, Peter Johnston, Trinity Anglican Church’s rector, led in singing the closing psalm, “When Zion’s Fortunes God Restored-Psalm 126.”   

Luke Arsement

Luke Arsement attended for the first time by a friend’s invitation, “I saw it as a great opportunity to get with brothers in Christ. I didn’t really know what to expect. I am so thankful that I came.”  Arsement saw benefit in the prayer centered fellowship, “It was much more than brothers getting together, although that was amazing. It was brothers coming together in unity from different backgrounds, different denominations, and calling upon our good and sovereign Lord for protection and to lead in the guidance for our government authorities.”

Pastor Josh Kines of Lafayette’s Parish Church believes prayer to be the “central ministry” of the church. “We begin with prayer and then everything flows from that,” says Kines, “The Lord taught us in His Word that where two or more gathered in His Name there is strength in numbers as we labor in unity.” 

Pastor Josh Kines

After the prayer session, Kines reflected, “I thought that our time together today with these men was fruitful to hear a roomful of men pray for our government. The desire and hope for our nation amongst our people was encouraging.”  Kines hopes the prayer sessions among the local churches will continue, “I would love to see this group of churches and men gather in the new year and to consistently confess that we believe prayer to be the central and first thing that we can do together in unity.  Then, from that, I hope the Lord grows our fellowship of churches and men to serve in larger opportunities as a means to expand the gospel here in Acadiana.”

Palmer echoed Kines’ thoughts, “We wanted to host and be a part of bringing like-minded churches together under the banner of King Jesus and to pray to Him for our parish.”   Palmer benefitted from the ecumenical gathering, “We do believe that there are a multitude of religious expressions.  While we have some disagreements, none of those are Gospel disagreements. I thought today was excellent. Being able to hear the prayers of so many men from around Acadiana was fruitful for me.”  Palmer also expressed his hope for future prayer sessions perhaps as many as nine times per year, “I would love to see it grow and see whatever the Lord would have for us.”

Palmer’s and the other men’s hope of community restoration by the Lord, reflect that found in today’s singing of Psalm 126, particularly that found in the third verse, as follows:

“Restore our fortunes, gracious Lord

Like streams in desert soil,

A joyful harvest shall reward,

The weeping sower’s toil.”

Even on Saturday mornings.  Amen!

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