Seminary community gathers for prayer for God’s mercy, favor

Ashley Allen
| Oct 5, 2022

Heeding the call to prayer for God’s mercy and favor issued by Interim President David S. Dockery, more than 100 Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Texas Baptist College faculty, staff, and students gathered in the rotunda of the B.H. Carroll Memorial Building Oct. 3 for the first of many scheduled prayer gatherings for the seminary and college community.

Malcolm Yarnell III, research professor of theology at Southwestern Seminary and one of the convenors of the gathering, said, “We're here to pray for God to bless the seminary, to bless all its constituencies, past, present, and future, [and] that God would take and fill these halls with many students again.”

Following his appointment as interim president of Southwestern Seminary on Sept. 27, Dockery, who also serves as distinguished professor of theology and director of the Dockery Center for Global Evangelical Theology, encouraged prayer among the Fort Worth institution’s community. Specifically, he called on the seminary community to engage in 40 days of prayer and announced Psalm 90:17 would be the theme verse for the institution.

In response to Dockery’s appeal to prayer, Yarnell began planning a time of prayer for faculty and Chandler Snyder, associate vice president for student services, began planning a staff and student prayer time. The two marshaled their efforts so the entire seminary and college could pray together, although the first gathering fell during Fall Reading Days when classes do not meet. 

Recalling the teaching of the late Distinguished Professor of Evangelism Roy J. Fish, Yarnell reminded attendees of the noted professor’s “adamant” teaching that “we ask the Holy Spirit to come upon us to empower us, to cleanse our hearts, [and] to lead us.”

Dockery thanked the crowd for gathering for prayer and their “commitment” to Southwestern saying, “I am confident that the Lord will hear our prayers,” adding that the seminary community must trust God to bless the institution. 

Dockery also introduced Melana Hunt Monroe, daughter of the late T.W. Hunt, who served Southwestern Seminary as a professor of piano and organ. However, Hunt was seen as “the faculty member most committed to prayer” during Dockery’s time as a student, he recalled. Monroe, who leads a prayer effort across the state of Texas, has volunteered to “lead that effort to pray for Southwestern on a regular basis,” Dockery added.

Dockery also announced the gift of $250,000 to the seminary from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. He said SBTC’s gift allowed the seminary and college community to begin with a prayer of “praise and thanksgiving to God.”

After Joseph R. Crider, dean of the School of Church Music and Worship, led the gathering in singing, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” Richard Ross, senior professor of student ministry in the Jack D. Terry School of Educational Ministries, opened the prayer time focusing on the holiness, sovereignty, and faithfulness of God.

Students, faculty, and staff joined in prayer as they praised God for His faithfulness and prayed as the Spirit led for several requests, among them for Dockery, O.S. Hawkins, senior advisor and ambassador-at-large, the Lord’s work and hand on the campus, and a focus on the work of the Kingdom among other prayer items. 

Additionally, Snyder prayed that each individual’s personal time in God’s Word and prayer would overflow in God’s favor being on the Fort Worth institution. The meeting concluded with Terri Stovall, dean of women, leading in a recitation of the Lord’s prayer.

The time of prayer will be held each Monday at 11:45 a.m. in the rotunda of the B.H. Carroll Memorial Building. Prayer will also be held at 9:30 a.m. before each chapel service for the rest of the fall semester.