Lake Union President Maurice Valentine praying with leadership from our conferences and the North American Division. Days after the prayer conference, the coronavirus was classified as a global pandemic, social distancing guidelines were recommended. |   Photos by Jean-Ires Michel

April 3, 2020

Lake Union presses together in prayer for GC Session and the coronavirus impact

Five hundred people, 24 hours and a chorus of united prayer. This was the atmosphere for the “Our United Cry” Lake Union Prayer Conference held...

Five hundred people, 24 hours and a chorus of united prayer. This was the atmosphere for the “Our United Cry” Lake Union Prayer Conference held March 6-7 in Plainfield, Indiana.  

A diverse group–young and old, from various ethnic groups—gathered to engage in intentional prayer, asking for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit ahead of the General Conference session, and concern about the coronavirus outbreak that was just starting to grow in the U.S. (Within days of the prayer conference, the World Health Organization would declare Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, a global pandemic.) 


The filled to capacity conference featured power-packed messages delivered by Evangelist Mark Finley; Missionary Gem Castor; “Asking for More” Author, Melody Mason; North American Division Prayer Ministries Director, James Black; among others. Every message delivered echoed the Ellen White statement: “Could there be a convocation of all the churches on earth, the object of their united cry should be for the Holy Spirit. When we have that, Christ our sufficiency is ever-present, we shall have every want supplied. We shall have the mind of Christ." 

In between listening to the short presentations, which is available at, there was ample time for prayer and table discussions on questions prompted by the speakers. 

At the end of the conference on Saturday evening, as attendees mingled and enjoyed light refreshments, many looked back in awe and marveled at what God had done.

Lake Union President Maurice Valentine said he remembered when Lake Union Vice President Carmelo Mercado approached the administration team with the idea for a prayer conference, and he was humbled to see how that seed germinated into a successful call to prayer. “This has surpassed anything we could’ve ever imagined and or prayed for,” he said. “To see people from all over our union territory, GC representatives, NAD representatives, and I’m rejoicing that we have people from even beyond our border. My prayer is that everyone who is at this prayer conference would take what they experienced back to their churches.”  

Executive Secretary for the North American Division, Alex Bryant, said that it was inspiring and encouraging to see people come together, and that the event served as a great foundation for the General Conference Session. “We always say we’re a people of prayer, but we don’t often take the time to pray,” he said. “This lays a foundation for the evangelistic meetings and it sets us up to be let by God’s Spirit and be empowered by His Spirit.” 

Ramon Canals, Director of Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Dept. at General Conference said he could feel the power of the Holy Spirit in the room: “When we pray together, God manifests Himself in a mighty way. We need to continue, because Ellen White says the only method by which we can win souls is prayer.”  

Six academies from the Lake Union sent two or more students, including Wisconsin Academy which had made the difficult decision shortly before the conference to cancel a mission trip to the Philippines as a result of the coronavirus. Some of those students, such as Jacob Sarmina, were now able to attend the conference. The WA senior said that while he was disappointed at the cancelled trip, he came to the conclusion, “God has a plan and that He wanted us to be here.”  

Andrews Academy sent four students and their Bible teacher, Mario Ferguson said it was his hope that this would be the catalyst to launching a prayer ministry at the school. He said, “The training they received this weekend will allow us do that.” 

A group of students from the Andrews University Prayer Warriors Club also participated. Gwendoline Albright N., co-leader of the prayer ministry said she was reminded that Jesus was our eternal and main intercessor. “It is such a privilege to pray alongside him here on earth.” 

Lake Union Vice President, Carmelo Mercado, who spearheaded this event said even though the project had come to an end, this was only the beginning of something new and exciting. “Now we can see revival come to fruition as we go back and pray. Pray for our families, pray for our churches, pray for our leaders. I know that the fruit of all our prayers is to see a power unprecedented since Pentecost.”  

Visit for videos of the seminars, resources, interviews from our leadership and attendees and a photo gallery.