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Speakers press messengers to unite for Gospel – The Baptist Message

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Baptist Message
"Helping Louisiana Baptists Impact the World For Christ"

David Cranford, in his Louisiana Baptist Convention Annual Meeting presidential addresses, encouraged messengers to have a more focused prayer life.

By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
MONROE, La. (LBM) – Prayer is a necessity to spark revival within each person, David Cranford said in his 2021 Louisiana Baptist Convention Annual Meeting presidential address, Nov. 16, in the North Monroe Baptist Church.
Drawing from Matthew 6:5-15, Cranford, pastor of First Baptist Church, Ponchatoula, said God has given His children a model to follow in their prayer lives. He said prayer is a practical privilege and refreshingly simple, adding that it involves alone time with God and demonstrates a yielding faith.
Cranford said prayer helps center one’s life on God and His Kingdom. He explained that Christ followers live in a time when it is increasingly difficult to be unplugged, but he stressed the importance of intentionally seeking time alone with God.
“God wants to change us,” he said. “God wants to transform us. Prayer doesn’t change God. It changes you. So, it then becomes consistent for God to do what he wants to do anyway and that is to change the human heart.”
Prayer is not complicated and does not require a secret formula, Cranford said. He encouraged messengers to have a more focused prayer life.
“What’s the best way to pray?” he said. “The best way to pray the prayer you will use?
“Talk to God as you would talk to your best friend,” he said.
“The secret to praying is to pray,” Cranford pointed out. “The vast majority of us in this room don’t need to learn how to pray. We need to learn to pray more.”
Steve Echols, president of Brewton-Parker College, Mount Vernon, Georgia, said for revival to come, Christ followers must exhibit the fruit of the spirit.
“God is ready to empower us with the Holy Spirit,” Echols said, basing his Bible study on Galatians 5:22-23. “We can’t do it humanly. We don’t have to invent something. We don’t have to dream up something. We just need to allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in us.”
Echols said revival in America will come when the church shows up faithfully, overcoming obstacles they may encounter.
“It’s time for the church to show up, stand up and speak up,” he said. “Faithful – that’s the outcome of revival. Lord, change me.
“But it’s not anything I can do,” Echols continued. “It is what the Holy Spirit does in me. It’s not something we can achieve, but it is something that He will surely do in us.”
Oren Conner, pastor of First Baptist Church, Baton Rouge, in his convention message challenged messengers to rely on and call upon the mercy of God.
Drawing from Luke 18, Conner said Christ followers must be more like the sinner who asked for God’s mercy and less like the Pharisee who believed he did not need it.
“Whoever tries to exalt himself God will humble, and whoever humbles himself God will exalt,” Conner said. “The days of us exalting ourselves, lauding our accomplishments, claiming our moral high ground are gone. It’s time for God’s people to humble ourselves and confess we are sinners in need of God’s mercy. The plea for God’s mercy is a plea for change to take place in our lives which we want.”
Conner added that mercy leads to humility. “God’s mercy is the heartbeat of humility,” Conner said. “If you want, if you desire, to be humble before God, think on His mercy – the fact that he has not given to you what you deserve. He’s given you the abundance of grace from the riches of His wealth and glory. He, in this moment, is molding you and shaping you to be in the image of His Son Jesus because He loves you.”

By Steve Horn ALEXANDRIA, La. – For me, today has the feeling similar to 9-11 or the beginning of the Gulf War when Iraq invaded Kuwait. In fact, a handful of my high school friends participated in the Gulf War. The U.S. counter began on a Wednesday night, which was our worship night for the Fellowship of … Read More

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