Praying for New York
August 23 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Praying for New York | Friday, Aug. 23, 2002

Friday, Aug. 23, 2002

Praying for New York

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

NEW YORK CITY - In the yearlong aftermath of the World Trade Center's destruction by terrorists, people around the world have sought to assist the families of victims, the emergency workers and the people of New York.

Believers who want to minister to the millions who live in and about the city can begin by praying for them, says Rick Astle, volunteer prayer coordinator for the Baptist State Convention (BSC) partnership with the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association (MNYBA).

"Usually prayer is tagged on as the caboose," Astle says. "We have a tendency to initiate things and pray later. This ministry of the partnership is unique in that it is beginning with prayer and growing out of prayer."

Astle, who is director of missions for the Columbus Association, began praying for victims and others associated with the World Trade Center attacks as soon as he learned of the tragedy.

And, Astle has continued to pray. In February, he scheduled a "prayer walk" on his own, traveling to New York and walking the streets to see the needs with his own eyes, hoping to see as Jesus sees.

Astle noticed how many businesses near Ground Zero had been shuttered, and prayed for those families. He met service people associated with cleanup efforts, and prayed for them.

But he also walked the upper streets of Manhattan, where he met people like Mike, a hot dog vendor at the corner of 61st and Broadway. Astle told Mike he had picked his stand out of all the others for his first New York hot dog. When Mike asked what brought him to the city, Astle explained that he had come to encourage New Yorkers and to pray for them. "What can I pray about for you?" he asked.

Astle said Mike's mouth fell open. "For 40 years I've been standing on this same corner selling hot dogs and nobody has ever asked me that question," he said.

Mike asked Astle to pray for his health and his family, and they prayed together there on the street corner, as people lined up behind them, waiting for hot dogs. "Thank you," Mike said. "You come back to New York for another hot dog and pray for me again."

Astle visited the city again in April, and was invited to tour the deepening "pit" at Ground Zero where recovery and cleanup efforts were drawing to a close. Astle prayed with workers sifting through the debris for human remains or possessions and spent two hours in the Port Authority command post, talking and praying with officers as they came in for breaks.

As prayer coordinator for the BSC/MNYBA partnership, Astle is recruiting churches and individuals who will pray at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. for 11 minutes, as often as possible. "Prayer warriors" are encouraged to pray regarding one of 11 prayer tracks. These include:

(1) prayer for MNYBA staff workers; (2) the Strategic Focus City ministry; (3) new church starts;

(4) MNYBA ministries to victims' families; (5) churches seeking pastors; (6) current pastor/church requests; (7) MNYBA community ministries;

(8) police, fire and rescue personnel; (9) urgent requests as they arise; (10) families of Sept. 11 victims; and (11) student ministry.

Prayer partners can enlist by contacting Carla Foster at (800) 395-5102 or (919) 467-5100, ext. 331 or sending an e-mail to cfoster@bscnc.org. The N.C. Baptist Men's office will then send regular updates and specific requests for prayer related to each track.

"In a partnership, one of the things we have to do is pray for each other," said Dan Bivins, projects coordinator for partnerships with N.C. Baptist Men. "We want to really encourage people to pray for people in the MNYBA and to pray about their own place in the partnership. This offers a unique and inventive way to pray for people specifically."

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8/23/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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