The Southern Baptist Convention, the Largest Protestant Denomination in the US, calls for prayer for a Great Awakening

southern-baptist-conventionThousands at the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention knelt in prayer and raised their hands to heaven July 16 as they prayed for revival in the church and a great awakening across the United States. Spiritual leaders from Southern Baptist churches across America—including Hispanic, Korean, Native American, and African American pastors—prayed for an end to racism and prejudice as they pledged to work together “as one family.”

“The only thing that can ultimately reshape America is a spiritual awakening and the next move of God,” Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC, stated “When you look at it historically, there is no great movement of God that is not first preceded by the extraordinary prayer of God’s people.  Floyd, said he had participated in prayer a few days ago with a group of spiritual leaders in Ohio’s capitol building. Underneath the seal of the state of Ohio that appears in front of the building are the words, “With God, all things are possible,” he noted. “It is providential we’re here, because with God . . . all things are possible,” he said. “We pray that this will become a generational moment. Lord, open up the heavens and come down.” Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, called Southern Baptists to personal repentance.

“God is calling us to brokenness and humility,” he said. The greatest sin is the sin of pride.” Citing Nehemiah, who prayed for his own city when the walls were in ruins and the city was left unprotected, Graham said that is the spiritual condition of the United States: “God’s people, without protection.” Nehemiah’s response was to pray for his nation, but to start with himself and his own family. He prayed and fasted to get right with God. Graham challenged Southern Baptists to pray in brokenness, humility, and repentance.

Recalling the Haystack Prayer Meeting in the nineteenth century that launched a great awakening, Pastor Paul Ron of Cambridge, Mass asked “Why can we not experience another spiritual awakening today?” Reading Psalm 126:4, Pastor J.D. Greear from Raleigh, Durham urged Southern Baptists to reach the world through the hard work of evangelism, prayer, and patience, yearning for the heavens to open up to send a spiritual awakening. Don’t always look back at what God has done, Greear said. He not only “moved yesterday”; He “will move today and tomorrow.” Borrowing from A. W. Tozer, James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Georgia, said too many American churches are so busy doing church that if the Holy Spirit left their fellowship they would not realize it.

Christians today, he admonished, are not too different than the Pharisees and Sadducees that Jesus condemns in Scripture. He described Jesus’s words against them as one of the most “damning rebukes” because they misinterpreted Scripture and failed to believe in the power of God. He said Christians need God’s power to work in them, witness through them, and walk before them. Pastor Vance Pitman from Las Vegas said he was not content just to read about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit but wants the nation to experience it like never before. And the reason for God’s lack of activity in the church is not due to the lostness of the nation, but “the lack of desperation of the people of God.”

Steve Gaines, senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee, called on the church to seek revival as a body. He spoke from Acts 4, when the early church prayed, sought after the Holy Spirit, and then proclaimed the Gospel. “In three centuries, these Christians conquered the world’s greatest empire, the Roman Empire,” he said. “How in the world could a group of ragtag fisherman, tax collectors, zealots, commoners turn their world upside down in such a short time? They had a holy fire” burning in their souls “and they could not be extinguished.”

SBC President Ronnie Floyd reminded participants that “The heart of God is for His people to walk in light. That’s why the church needs revival. It’s time for revival in the church,” he said.

—Adapted from SBC Life, Summer 2015

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PRAY WITHOUT CEASING

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1Th 5:16-18 NASB

Often I ponder the meaning of praying without ceasing. What did the Apostle Paul really mean?  How can I pray without ceasing?  These and other questions motivate me to search between the lines in this often quoted verse.

Notice that on either side of  “pray without ceasing” is the imperative to REJOICE and GIVE THANKS.  Wow, could it be if we live a life of rejoicing and utter thanks at every occasion our God considers it prayer?  Could it be that Father listens to our conversation between the quotation marks of rejoicing and thanksgiving as prayer?

I have concluded after 35 years of full-time ministry that the Apostle was not instructing us to spend every waking minute in religious utterance, but to converse with our Creator like breathing.   To center our spirit and focus our inner man on the adoration of the Father.   Let every word, action, thought be a prayer!  Amazing, I can pray without ceasing.  Let’s join our hearts in rejoicing and thanksgiving, let’s allow our words to be filled with grace and light, let’s sing and make melody in our hearts to God and then we will be living a life of praying without ceasing!  Selah.

Praying in the Spirit 24/7 Page Added

“- Pray without ceasing;”  — 1Th 5:17 NASB

Immanuel’s Church has committed to be a praying community 24 hours a day 7 days a week or in the words of the Apostle Paul, “pray without ceasing!”

This vision is facilitated by prayer points that are published monthly.  This is Praying in the Spirit the new page on the top tabs of this blog.  You are invited to participate every day in praying through the focus of this page.  Please feel free to comment and reply as you pray, sharing your insights with others.

Our Father’s house is a house of prayer for all nations!