Branzell to succeed Floyd to lead Nat'l Day of Prayer

Kathy Branzell
Photo submitted
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) -- Kathy Branzell has been named as Ronnie Floyd's successor as president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.

Branzell, of Atlanta, has participated in the National Day of Prayer for 19 years, according to a news release from the 10-member NDP board of directors.

Floyd ended his two years of leading the National Day of Prayer on May 17 prior to taking office as president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee on May 20.

Floyd noted key advances for the movement and set forth several reflections from having led the National Day of Prayer in two blog posts after this year's May 2 observance.

Ronnie Floyd
BP file photo.
"Coupling all we know about online statistics, radio and television broadcasts and local gatherings," Floyd wrote, "we believe that more people than ever before were potentially reached with the message of the National Day of Prayer's theme this year: Love One Another."

Branzell, 51, a member of Celebration Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in northeast Atlanta, attended her first National Day of Prayer in Washington, D.C., in 2000. She has been on the NDP board of directors for 10 years.

As founder and president of Fellowship and Christian Encouragement (FACE) for Educators for 17 years, Branzell has drafted weekly Scripture readings, prayer prompts and devotionals for educators to use throughout the school year.

She is the author of several books on prayer, most recently "An Invitation to Prayer," released in April. She holds a master's degree in biblical studies from Liberty University's School of Divinity and an undergraduate degree in education and human development from the University of Georgia. She and her husband Russ have two children.

Branzell, in the NDP news release, stated, "The next generation is filled with the Holy Spirit and passionate about prayer. … We need them." There isn't a single generation nor "one ethnicity, one gathering or one person that could call this nation to prayer. The body of Christ is beautiful in reflecting every nation, tribe and tongue.

"Jesus never called us to go it alone," Branzell said. "We will continue to reach out to every community and all denominations because we're all the body of Christ."

NDP reach

Floyd, in a mid-May recap of this year's National Day of Prayer, wrote, "From Maine to Hawaii, sunrise to sunset, growth occurred … with nearly 60,000 National Day of Prayer observances held in towns, cities and counties across our nation.

"On social media, hashtags #NationalDayOfPrayer and #Love1Another trended #1 in the nation on Thursday, May 2, with more than 300,000 posts.

"With the introduction of new online media tracking tools, we have been able to track close to 19,000 articles and mentions promoting local events and encouraging millions to pray on the National Day of Prayer," Floyd wrote on May 15.

Via DayStar Television and God TV, Floyd continued, "we took the message of prayer to most countries across the world as well as every state in the nation. Millions upon millions were called upon to pray for America and to Love One Another."

The video of the National Day of Prayer observance in the U.S. Capitol has been viewed more than 700,000 times, Floyd added in his May 15 blog post. "We believe over the summer we will surpass over 1 million views and may even come near having 1.5 million views" of the two-hour event available at https://vimeo.com/334142030.

"This is a testament to everyone who was involved in any way, including attending and inviting a friend to a gathering, sharing online, organizing an event, and most importantly, praying for God's blessing upon our nation," Floyd wrote.

'A grand opportunity'

Setting forth his reflections in a May 13 blog post, Floyd referenced official declarations of prayer in 1775, 1952 and 1988 and wrote, "We do not need a national law to pray for America, but I am grateful to God for the law that calls upon all Americans to pray for America on the first Thursday in May every year. This opens the door for many to feel the freedom to stand up in their communities to pray for America.

"There is still a grand opportunity … for every Christian leader in America to step into this God-given opportunity of influencing people for Christ," Floyd wrote. "Therefore, determine now to take advantage of the opportunity next year on Thursday, May 7, 2020." The SBC's yearly calendar now includes the National Day of Prayer.

Floyd described the 300,000-plus churches in some 200 denominations in the U.S. as "the existing footprint of Jesus all over this nation … where the growth is for the future of the National Day of Prayer. Mobilizing pastors and churches to pray for America is the key to turning this nation to God."

The National Day of Prayer, he continued, "opens the doors for Christians to work together for the glory of God. This can be a great testimony wherever you are: Get outside of your normal circle of influence and work with Christians who may not agree with you on secondary matters, but they do believe:

"* The Bible is the infallible Word of God and is the final word on all things.

"* Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world and the only way to eternal salvation.

"* The advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest need in the world; therefore, we must each answer the calling of making disciples of all the nations."

Floyd, in a final point, wrote, "The National Day of Prayer must continue our commitment to making this movement a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-church and multi-denominational movement of prayer for America. The National Day of Prayer movement must look like America looks today and in the future with multiple generations, multiple ethnicities, carried out in multiple languages spoken in our nation."

In his new book, "How to Pray: Developing an Intimate Relationship to God," Floyd devoted a chapter to 10 ways to pray for America:

"1. Pray for America to Experience a Nationwide Great Spiritual Awakening, Resulting in Millions Coming to Faith in Christ Alone for Salvation.

"2. Pray for the Church in America to Wake Up and Be Revived

"3. Pray for the Leaders of Our Nation

"4. Pray for America's Military

"5. Pray for Our Media in America

"6. Pay for Businesses in America

"7. Pray for Education in America

"8. Pray for Families in America

"9. Pray for Unity in America

"10. Pray for the Security of Our Nation, Schools, Churches, and All Public Venues"

Floyd, who was in his 33rd year as senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, was elected as the SBC Executive Committee's president and CEO in a special meeting April 2 in Dallas.

Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press.
SIGNED UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER? Get Baptist Press in your email by subscribing to our daily newsletter at bpnews.net/SubscribeBP.
Download Story