By Carol Pipes
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As the lights dimmed and the music swelled at Little Rock’s Simmons Bank Arena, more than 1,800 women stood to their feet ready to worship, pray, and hear author and Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer teach from God’s Word.
“We turned this arena into a sanctuary,” Shirer said. “We’re having church today.”
Shirer’s brother and worship artist Anthony Evans kicked off the Going Beyond Simulcast with Priscilla Shirer on Saturday, Sept. 25.
“As the women entered the arena, you could sense the excitement and anticipation in their hearts,” said Andrea Lennon, women’s ministry specialist for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. “They came prayed-up and ready for an encounter with God.”
Hosted by Lifeway Christian Resources, the Going Beyond Simulcast with Priscilla Shirer was broadcast to women gathered in 49 states, 25 countries—including groups in Australia, Mexico, Romania, South Africa—and on two military bases.
Shirer welcomed the women gathered in Little Rock and the more than 60,000 joining online. Setting the agenda for the day, she said they would be opening God’s Word and spending time in intentional prayer. “One of the ways He changes us is in prayer,” she said. “Prayer is not the lead up to the main thing; prayer is the main thing.
“Our goal for the day is to remind you who you are,” Shirer said. “We want to remind you that you have been completely forgiven. You have been set free in Jesus’ name. He has come to revolutionize our lives in a way that will change us forever.”
Throughout the day, Shirer led special times of prayer, encouraging women to pray with faith for healing and deliverance. Issues of health, wayward children, job loss, marital struggles, hurt from the past, and fear of the future were recurring themes among the women gathered in Little Rock.
“As the women knelt at the altar, created by the front of the stage, they were opening their hearts and lives to Jesus for the healing only He provides,” said Lennon.
Shirer shared from 2 Peter 1 about the struggles of life and the beautiful opportunity to know and experience God and His power to save. She reminded them of the truth and treasure found in God’s Word.
“The gospel is still the good news, and it is not just the good news to some people but to all,” Shirer said. “He keeps coming after us and pursuing us. And, oh, this is good news!”
A worker at the arena was so moved by the message Shirer shared that she stopped a Lifeway employee and asked about the hope found in Christ. Lennon had the chance to follow up with the woman praying with her and encouraging her to look to Jesus for hope and strength. The woman shared with Lennon that she’d been struggling with feelings of hopelessness because of the state of the world.
“As she watched the women worship, heard the teaching from the Word, and started praying about the struggles going on in her life, she turned to God for help,” said Lennon. “This led to a light bulb moment, and she started recounting God’s goodness in her life. With tears streaming down her face, she shared with me, ‘When I woke up this morning, I had no idea God had something special in store for me. What is happening in this room is special. I never expected to be encouraged by simply getting up and coming to work.’”
Women around the globe were also encouraged by Shirer’s message. During the livestream, messages poured in through social media with the hashtag #GoingBeyondLive.
“Wow, what an amazing day. [Priscilla Shirer] is so powerful when God uses her to speak. The #GoingBeyondLive was just what my soul needed,” shared Brittany Koehler on Instagram.
“My heart was full from seeing the photos of churches full of women participating in the simulcast, praying over each other, and fellowshipping together,” said Becky Loyd, director of Lifeway Women. “It has been a while since we’ve been able to see women gather like this.”
Loyd said the Lifeway Events team found a photo a participant shared on Twitter where a woman in Atlanta was Zooming the simulcast with women from Kenya and South Africa.
“What a privilege it is to be able to reach the world with the truth of God’s Word!” Loyd said.
Darilynn Keith, Lifeway Women digital event coordinator, said one of her favorite things was watching women interact with one another in the online chat during the prayer experiences.
“They were using emojis to raise their hands when Priscilla was calling out the different categories for prayer. Women were using the prayer emoji reaction to pray over those ‘raising their hands,’ and it truly was a picture of women gathering virtually to connect with God and each other.”
Keith said they’ve received 328 prayer requests through the online prayer form. “Our digital prayer team has been praying over and responding to those who requested it,” she said.
At the end of the day, Shirer challenged women to remain steadfast in their faith, to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus and to live in an awareness of God’s presence.
If you or your church missed the simulcast, it’s available to stream on live.lifeway.com until November 25.
Carol Pipes is director of Corporate Communications for Lifeway Christian Resources.
In operation since 1891, Lifeway Christian Resources is one of the leading providers of Christian resources, including Bibles, books, Bible studies, Christian music and movies, VBS, and church supplies, as well as camps and events for all ages. Lifeway is the world’s largest provider of Spanish Bibles. Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., Lifeway receives no denominational funding and operates as a self-supporting nonprofit. For more information, visit lifeway.com.