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Noted pastor to speak at Hall County Prayer Conference
The Rev. Mel Blackaby, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, will be the guest speaker at the Hall County Prayer Conference on Thursday. Blackaby is a Christian author and son of the Rev. Henry Blackaby.

Hall County Prayer Conference

What: Prayer conference with special guest the Rev. Mel Blackaby

When: 5 p.m. pastor session, 7 p.m. prayer conference Thursday

Where: Lakewood Baptist Church, 2235 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville

How much: $10, registration at the door

More info: 678- 873-0311 or

If anyone would like to send in a prayer request or to join the Hall County Prayer network, please

About seven years ago Brandy Sandoval and Maxine Wagner came together to organize area residents to pray for Hall County.

Both Gainesville women believe that the power of prayer can help community leaders, schools and even the nation come together without the constraints of denomination or church affiliation.

Over the years the two have recruited nearly 2,000 Hall County residents to join their e-mail prayer network.

"I think prayer brings together a community by understanding that the major functions of the city is what makes a community work, such as our police department, fire department, sheriff's department, our schools; that's what makes a community work," Sandoval said.

"It gives you a keener heart ... gives you a heart and soul for people who are in crisis situations and (prayer) puts you in touch with humanity.

"... I look at it one way, prayer is like the common thread in all denominations. We all may have different theologies, but we all believe in prayer because it was commanded by God," she said. "Think what could happen in Hall County if we all came together under the mantle of prayer because it is such a unifying force in the Christian community."

Sandoval, a member of Free Chapel, is the official organizer of prayer requests and distributes mass e-mails for urgent or life and death community prayer.

"Those people who are signed up for the Hall County Prayer network know and understand what it is. When I get in an urgent prayer request and it is forwarded to those people, they are right on board with it," she said. "We actually serve as prayer leaders for the prayer of the major functions of our city, and we cover that in prayer on a monthly basis."

Anyone in the community can be a part of Hall County Prayer network or send in a prayer request, as long as it is an urgent or life-and-death request.

Once a year, for the past few years, Hall County Prayer network comes together for the Hall County Prayer Conference. Different speakers come and deliver a message on the power of prayer. This year's speaker is the Rev. Mel Blackaby, the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro.

"This is the third prayer conference," said Wagner, a member of Concord Baptist Church. "It's a way to basically promote prayer in the community, helping make the whole community be aware of the power and importance of prayer in our individual lives, and praying for our community and praying for our nation."

Sandoval and Wagner saw Blackaby speak about a year ago at a Georgia Baptist Convention prayer conference in Toccoa.

Blackaby is most notably known for his published Christian books, many of which were co-written with his father the Rev. Henry Blackaby, an influential speaker and pastor in the Christian faith.

"When we saw him (Mel Blackaby) speak we knew he would be perfect for our prayer conference," Wagner said. "We didn't have a prayer conference last year because we weren't sure of who would be a perfect speaker ... we were led to him."


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