| Update 2
| Update 3 | Update 4
| Update 5 | Photo Gallery
Passionately pleading for the Holy Spirit (Posted Aug. 7, 2012)
BY SANDRA BLACKMER
or the first time at an NAD Teachers Convention, the division’s Prayer Ministries team set up a prayer room near the auditorium to entreat God throughout the day to bless the meetings and the educators. The five-member prayer team, led by coordinator Ruthie Jacobsen and assistant Stanley Ponniah, begins the day early at 6:00 a.m., and continues until the convention center closes after the evening meeting.
“When we gather for church business, Satan also brings his delegates,” Ponniah, senior accountant for the General Conference, says. “We come by invitation, but he invites himself, and he is very much present. He tries his very best to divert the attention of [all those here].”
Such prayer rooms are not new to the team members. They have prayed at numerous large church gatherings, such as General Conference Sessions, Annual Councils, Spring Councils, and NAD Year-end meetings.
“I feel it is necessary for people to get together and pray at such times and ask God to enlighten the minds of the delegates and keep them focused on God’s business, on the church’s business,” Ponniah says.
THE POWER OF PRAYER: NAD Prayer Ministry coordinator Ruthie Jacobsen (third from left), assistant Stanley Ponniah (second from right), and other prayer team members petition God to bless the teachers convention. [PHOTO: Marvin Lowman]
The team members don’t attend the meetings. Instead, they pray together in the prayer room, encourage others to come and pray with them, and go on prayer walks. Before the meetings at this convention began, Ponniah walked past every one of the 6,800 chairs set up in the auditorium and prayed for each of the people who would be sitting in those chairs throughout the event. He also prayed in each breakout session room and next to every exhibit booth.
Ponniah also tries to be on hand when things go wrong. “When trouble erupts we go near the people in that situation and pray for them, taking the power and the fragrance of Jesus to every individual, to every room,” he explains. “We don’t fold our hands and close our eyes; we just keep walking and ask God to come very close to the situation.”
The prayer team also doesn’t neglect those who come to them with personal needs, and Ponniah says that even physical healings have taken place as a result of prayer. He prayed one time for a woman who had cancer with a discouraging prognosis, but now seven years later she is doing well and has no trace of cancer.
“We primarily pray for what is happening on the floor,” Ponniah says, “but we also take care of people who come to us with burdens on their hearts and minds. We are here to lead them to the throne of grace.”