CALL TO PRAYER: Fresh winds of prayer stirring the nation
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Leaves on the branches of Christendom are stirring. The gentle, freshening wind of God's Spirit is moving. These breezes of the Spirit are raising the heads and quickening the steps of weary pilgrims, filling hearts with renewed hope that the Lord is doing something fresh and new in our midst.
In what may be called multiple pockets of revival fire igniting our nation and the world, a renewed passion for God in prayer is sweeping across the Christian landscape. I mention just a few here.
The Collegiate Day of Prayer, a combined effort of scores of evangelical churches and organizations, has set Feb. 28 as a day of focused prayer for 3,189 college campuses in the United States. Many of these campuses have been "adopted" by local Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCMs), a ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention, state Baptist conventions, and local associations (see related Call to Prayer for Collegians (http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=39680).
The website of the Collegiate Day of Prayer urges parents to pray for their collegians. It relates the story of 19th-century evangelist Dwight L. Moody's struggle at Cambridge University in 1882. After days of little response, Moody called for three hundred mothers to gather for prayer. What happened after their prayer meeting changed the face of the evangelistic meetings that week ... and of missions for the next century.
NAMB's 10:2 Prayer Initiative is designed to be a movement of people praying at a set time each day, interceding for our current missionary force and asking the Lord to raise up a new generation of church planting missionaries. NAMB President Kevin Ezell is encouraging Southern Baptists to set their watches or phones to remind them to pray at 10:02 each day or on a set day each week.
IMB's School of Prayer for All Nations, headquartered at IMB's International Learning Center in Richmond, Va., recently was established as a gathering place for prayer warriors to meet and raise focused prayer for the nations. At its launch, IMB President Tom Elliff said Jesus gave His disciples a key command for missions -- pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers -- an element that can often be overlooked in trying to accomplish the task itself.
His hope is that Southern Baptists will flock to the School of Prayer to learn about the kind of fervent, effective, Great Commission-directed prayer that can change entire countries for the sake of the Gospel, adding that the School of Prayer serves to complement existing prayer emphases provided by both the Woman's Missionary Union and state convention prayer leaders.
A thousand other points of light show up from a satellite view of the otherwise dark expanse of the North American continent. Four examples illustrate the point.
-- Executive Committee President Frank Page's call to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening, already stirring in his heart as a pastor, was reignited last fall as he prayed about his dominant message for 2013.
-- SBC President Fred Luter, longing for revival, challenged the SBC committee on order of business to elevate prayer for revival and spiritual unity to be the dominant item of business at this year's SBC annual meeting.
-- Numerous groups of pastors and Convention leaders have been meeting together in different locations to fast and pray for revival and spiritual awakening on the first Friday of each month.
-- A local pastor in West Virginia routinely emails and calls convention leaders, urging them to pray for revival and spiritual awakening, and was one of the first to call for focused, fervent prayer for the U.S. Supreme Court as it considers the issue of traditional marriage next month.
God is igniting "pockets of revival fire" across the landscape. What an awesome thing it will be when the wind of the Holy Spirit so fans the flames of spiritual awakening that one pocket merges with another, and another, and another ... until the land is aflame with spiritual fervor and the whole earth is filled with the glory of God!
Roger S. Oldham is vice president for convention communications and relations with the SBC Executive Committee. Initial articles about the Call to Prayer that Frank Page has issued to Southern Baptists for 2013 can be read here and here. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).