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Gathering emphasizes spiritual discipline


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (BP) — One of the lessons that emerged from a nine-day prayer gathering in West Virginia was the need for renewed spiritual discipline among a majority of Southern Baptists across the nation, according to the pastor who organized the event.

“One of the sins that has been confessed and recognized by more people in the Southern Baptist Convention is that prayer is neglected in the church and in the pastor’s and in the layman’s life,” Dan Biser said.

“Just straight out, the sin of prayerlessness has not been dealt with for decades [as well as] the neglect of God’s Word, where preachers and church members do not read their Bibles,” he told Baptist Press.

Biser, pastor of Zoar Baptist Church in Augusta, W. Va., and Fox’s Hollow Baptist Church in Romney, added that “there has to be something instituted within the Southern Baptist Convention that will restore the hungering and thirsting after righteousness through these things.”

The Nov. 3-11 prayer gathering at Westview Baptist Church in Martinsburg drew 500 people total, and Biser said a significant number of them stayed throughout the conference. Sessions were three hours in length and were generally characterized by two hours of worship and teaching followed by an hour of prayer. Between 200 and 300 people attended a particular session during peak times.