When grandfather George McLaughlin was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, his family and friends were shocked.
‘We came home from our holiday at the beginning of August,’ said George, a member of Beacon Lough Baptist Church in Gateshead. ‘I found by 4 September I had terminal lung cancer. When we were given the news my wife Carole and I cried. Our family were devastated.’
After the initial shock, their thoughts turned to God. ‘When the crying stopped we started to look to our Great God, though we still cry occasionally. And our theme for prayer is that we are praying for a great miracle. Our family have been wonderfully supportive, not only our close personal family, but our church family from all over the world, and especially our church family at Beacon Lough Baptist.’
This support was shown when secretary Ian Britton helped organise a circle of prayer throughout the night for George. This idea quickly grew to organising a 24 hour event. An automated, sign up system using Google was created, and the idea was shared through Facebook, text messages and email.
With friends from Australia, New Zealand, America, Peru, Cambodia, St Helena, Singapore, and Lithuania signing up, all the slots last Wednesday were covered.
House groups met in the church and anointed George with oil. George’s young grand-daughters Molly, (nine) and Maddie (seven) came straight from school with their mum to church, and asked to go in with some of the friends who were at church praying, to pray with them. In all more than 100 people were involved, and from start to finish it took just four days.
They included Irmantas Pinkoraitis, Pastor of the Vilnius New Testament Baptist Church in Vilnius, Lithuania. George and Carole had spent time at the church during an NBA Mission trip to Lithuania 18 months ago. He said, ‘We had a prayer evening that night with our congregation for George and Carole.
‘How important to have a circle of brothers and sisters in Christ who mobilise and pray continuously for one another. We hope George will overcome the disease.’
George said the response ‘touched my soul’.
‘This to me was God working in the youngest to the oldest, and really touched and thrilled my soul. Praise God. We have so much to thank Him for and we know we are in God’s Hands.’
The Revd John Claydon, regional minister (pastoral) of the Northern Baptist Association, said, ‘The circle of prayer for George is a great way of enabling us as a wider family of Baptists to be concerted in upholding people in prayer at a specific time of need. It is a creative use of social media and a great expression of our togetherness and a reminder that we are family.’
Matthew Athta, the associate pastor of Garber United Methodist Church, New Bern, NC, USA, said, 'The Circle of Prayer is a wonderful gift from God to unite believers in prayer around the world.
'The most powerful thing we can do for a fellow believer is to pray for them. I know God used this effort of organized prayer to bless George and His family. It is miraculous that we can touch the life of another believer through the Holy Spirit and the gift of prayer thousands of miles away.'
For more visit: https://www.facebook.com/BLBCPrayer