CALL TO PRAYER: Pray like never before
EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is part of the call to prayer issued by Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, to pray for revival and spiritual awakening for our churches, our nation and our world.
Nashville (BP) -- Frank S. Page, president and "chief encouragement officer" of the SBC Executive Committee, has challenged Southern Baptists to continue praying in 2014 "like we've never prayed before."
Page views his call to prayer as a "catalyst, a weekly reminder of the urgency and primacy of prayer."
"Considering what Jesus endured for us, we must not grow weary and lose heart. We must strengthen our tired hands and our weakened knees before the throne of grace," Page said, citing the example of Jesus in Hebrews 12. "Jesus wanted His churches to be called 'houses of prayer.' Let us not disappoint our Lord."
During 2013, pockets of prayer seemed to bubble up around the nation. These include TenTwo, NAMB's prayer initiative to pray the Luke 10:2 prayer for laborers into the harvest; the International Mission Board's intensive prayer boot camp, the School of Prayer for All Nations, held at the International Learning Center; numerous prayer initiatives through state Baptist conventions and Baptist Collegiate Ministries; pastor-led corporate prayer initiatives such as the pastor's prayer gathering held Sept. 30 – Oct. 1 in Dallas, and thousands of other prayer gatherings through local churches and communities.
In addition PrayerLink, an organization of state convention and SBC entity prayer leaders, at its annual prayer retreat in October affirmed Page's call for continued prayer, adopting three guiding principles for 2014.
Seek God -- Recognizing that our only hope is a God-given spiritual awakening, we acknowledge God is calling His people to repent and seek Him through wholehearted love, righteous living and fervent, united, Kingdom-focused prayer.
Elevate Prayer -- Furthermore, recognizing that prayer is essential for personal, corporate, community, national and global spiritual transformation, we recommend the SBC entity members of PrayerLink develop a digital resource center for churches to access the many prayer tools available from PrayerLink members.
Pledge Cooperation -- In cooperation with associations, state conventions, the SBC entities and other Great Commission partners, PrayerLink pledges itself as a colaborer to assist churches in mobilizing God-initiated, Kingdom-focused prayer.
As we begin a new year in prayer, here are seven prayerful suggestions.
-- Pray some portion of God's Word back to Him as part of your daily quiet time.
-- Prayerwalk your neighborhood as part of your daily exercise program.
-- Pray about human needs reported on the daily news.
-- Pray by name for at least five unsaved friends, family members or neighbors.
-- Set your watch or phone to remind you to pray Luke 10:2 at 10:02 each morning and/or evening.
-- Pray for your family members by name, asking the Lord to use them -- and you -- for Kingdom purposes.
-- Pray Jesus' Model Prayer from Matthew 6:9-13 on a regular basis, savoring a different phrase from the prayer each day.
Hearing again the words of our Lord, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive," (Matthew 21:22, KJV), let us pray like we've never prayed before!
Roger S. Oldham is vice president for convention communications and relations with the SBC Executive Committee. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).