MARSHALL—David and Claudie Maxine King learned the importance of intercessory prayer firsthand during their 30 years as Baptist missionaries. Now they want to involve other Christians in praying for first responders who serve in harm’s way for the common good.
For most of their time with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Foreign Mission Board and its successor, the International Mission Board, the Kings were based in Beirut, Lebanon, where he taught at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. That included the time of the civil war in Lebanon, from the mid-1970s until they moved to Cypress in 1987.
“There were times when mortar shells were falling on the seminary campus,” King recalled. “During those years, we lived while over 100,000 people died violent deaths all around us.”
No guarantees, but plenty of support
Of course, King noted: “There are no guarantees. Nobody can tell God what he has to do. We must submit to his will.”
Still, throughout the time they were in danger in Lebanon, the Kings not only felt supported by Baptists who followed the Woman’s Missionary Union prayer calendar and prayed for them on their birthdays, but also about 2,000 prayer partners in the United States who received their newsletter.
“God answered our prayers and theirs for us, even though some of our dear friends lost their lives in spite of their faith in Jesus,” King said. “It reminds us of Acts 12:1-5, where we read that James was beheaded by Herod, who had Peter arrested and expected to execute him, too.
“Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. As a result, the Lord sent his angel to work miracles to deliver Peter. Like Peter, we were privileged to have God’s people pray for us during our crisis years.”
‘Draw a curtain of prayer’ around first responders
In recent years, King, a member of First Baptist Church in Marshall, has served on the board of directors of the Marshall Prayer Force—an interdenominational ministry that encourages Christians to pray for law enforcement officers and firefighters.
“We have a deep appreciation for the first responders who go out every day to provide our safety,” he said. “We need to draw a curtain of prayer around them and offer all the support we can give them.”
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Dee Farmer, a member of First Baptist Church in Jefferson, launched the Marshall Prayer Force soon after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The local network has grown to 700 Christians from about 30 East Texas churches who commit to pray for first responders.
Farmer contacted leaders of the Marshall Police Department, the Marshall Fire Department, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety, asking for the permission of individual first responders to pray for them by name.
“Our prayer focus is for the safety of the one being prayed for, as well as the family at home,” Farmer said. “We pray God will grant the first responder wisdom in every decision-making situation, along with supernatural self-control. We also pray they have unhindered transition from all the physical and emotional demands of the job into a peaceful, happy and prosperous family time.”
Farmer believes the model the Marshall Prayer Force developed can be replicated in communities throughout Texas and around the country. So, the ministry is sponsoring a training conference Sept. 11 at the Marshall Convention Center. Cost is $50. For more information, click here.