Guest Writer: Bob Burton, UP Team Coordinator
[Editors note: The “Branson” that most visitors come to visit as well as “the city of Branson” itself is in both Stone and Taney Counties.]
On the National Day of Prayer in May, 2002, The Uninterrupted Prayer Team (UP Team) began its service to Stone and Taney Counties. The Silver Dollar City Foundation sponsored the UP Team, and the initial founders and steering committee were Pastor Howard Boyd, Ted Reed and John Baltes.
The Mission of the UP Team is that God's perfect will be done in Stone and Taney Counties. The strategy is to have 24 hour a day, 7 day a week prayer for the area. Members commit to an hour a week of prayer; they prayer where and how they choose to. Each UP Team member gets a prayer manual with information about the Team, a list of prayer needs, a suggested and optional methodology for prayer, and a monthly Newsletter. Further, there are several optional opportunities a year for members and other folks to come together for a time of prayer.
Each day of the week is devoted to a "sector" of the community: Monday is Entertainment; Tuesday is Social Services (agencies, churches, families and individuals in need) and Civic Services (police, fire,etc.); Wednesday is Businesses; Thursday is Medical; Friday is Education; Saturday is Churches and Ministries; Sunday is Government (local, county, State, National, and the military). Some members pick a day of the week because they have a passion for a particular sector; others pick a day of the week because it is most convenient for their schedules.
On the National Day of Prayer this year, the UP Team will celebrate its 5th anniversary. Many people are unaware of just how much prayer is going on through the dedication of UP Team members (and there are also many other prayer groups and praying individuals in our area). As of this writing, 152 out of 168 weekly time slots are filled. But because people do not have to take an open slot when they join, many hourly slots have multiple members. The bottom line is 285 hours of prayer a week! So, whatever sector of our community you identify with, there are people praying for you.
Many, many people in SW Missouri believe that God wants to do something very special here that will impact our entire nation. We already have a strong foundation of Christian and family values and genuine patriotism; but we are not at the goal of "spiritual transformation," which will have as its result the permeation of all sectors and all people and groups the loving grace of God. In such an environment, Christians and people who are not Christians will live together in harmony; but from a Christian perspective, the Lordship of Jesus Christ would reign. Then the people coming here from all over our nation will experience the meaning of true spirituality as opposed to religion and will take that back to their own regions and communities. The key to any spiritual transformation and awakening has always been prayer. But the prayer of the UP Team members is also for the well-being and protection of all residents of the area.
The goal this year is "24/7 in 2007". The UP Team wants to fill all hourly slots -- and eventually several people in each slot -- and thereby have an umbrella of prayer over the area. An hour a week can have a tremendous impact, as the prayer of every person is very powerful. And together the members form an army of intercessors. Many UP Team folks have shared that the commitment to an hour a week has also been a personal immense spiritual blessing, as God cannot be outdone in generosity.
[Editors Note: The author of this article, Bob Burton, has the Coordinator of the UP Team since its inception. Bob is a 25+ year employee of Herschend Family Entertainment, and works both in Human Resources and for the UP Team. If you are interested in learning more information about the UP Team, setting up an UP Team in your area, becoming a member, or receiving the UP Team's monthly news letter please contact Bob via cell phone, day and night, at 417.331.1028; his office number at 417.338.8036; or via email by clicking here.]
Originally Published In the Branson Courier on Feb. 14, 2007.