Our 2020 Annual Celebration theme was Prayer and Fasting. At last year’s meeting, President Ryan Strother challenged Ohio Baptists to First Friday Fasts in 2020:
“We should never discount the power of prayer. As much as we strategize and prepare our work for God’s mission, we cannot forget that apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). If we want to bear much fruit throughout Ohio, we must commit to praying. Think about all of the efforts right now in our state: the Denominee process starting in January to bring clarity to our convention’s ministry, increased church planting and revitalization efforts, and the every-day work of our church’s carrying out the Great Commission. We must pray!
As I think about our work in 2020, I want to challenge our churches to a prayer effort that will be low burden and high impact. So, let me introduce you to the First Friday Fast effort, where I trust our churches will commit to fasting (if physically able) and praying on the first Friday of every month in 2020. We are providing five prayer points to consider as you pray and fast. Imagine what the Lord might do as we seek and depend on Him as we carry out His mission!”
That challenge came long before we knew what 2020 would hurl at us. COVID-19 was not in our vocabulary. We anticipated 2020 to be a divisive year because of the election, still an issue, but now just one of many.
The initiative has been embraced by Ohio Baptists this year in a variety of ways. Resources were gathered and shared in a Dropbox Showcase (https://shwca.se/FirstFridayFast2020). The months of January through March saw in-person prayer meetings across the state. March 5 brought a great momentum as we gathered at Cuyahoga Valley Church for a prayer summit with Daniel Henderson. Then, the coronavirus caused churches to suspend gatherings, and the First Friday Fast initiative went digital. Zoom was the word for April through June. Beginning in July, we created prayer guides each month that small groups could use.
As we gathered for the 2020 Annual Celebration at Dublin Baptist, President Ryan Strother again called us to prayer. A special prayer guide was created using Dangerous Prayers: Because Following Jesus Was Never Meant to Be Safe by Craig Groeschel. Three prayer times focused on Search Me (Psalm 139:23-24); Break Me (Mark 14:3-9; 14:22-26) and Send Me (Isaiah 6:1-8) Jason Buss (FBC South Lebanon); Amanda LaRue (FBC Miamisburg) and VJ Sanchez (Briggs Road Baptist) each led prayer times.
FBC South Lebanon
Briggs Road Baptist
Prayer guide was created using Dangerous Prayers:
Because Following Jesus Was Never Meant to Be Safe
by Craig Groeschel
The prayer guide is available at the Dropbox Showcase, on our website, or by contacting Steve Hopkins at SteveHopkins@scbo.org or 614.601.6820. The guide is available in digital format, or you can request printed copies.