In D.C., Floyd urges pastors to pray for revival

WASHINGTON (BP) -- The widespread sense Americans cannot solve their own problems gives Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd hope, he told a gathering of pastors Thursday evening (May 21) in Washington.

"Scripture has to be our sole authority in our decision making," Ronnie Floyd told members of Congress and their staffs during a May 20 worship service at the U.S. Capitol.
Photo by Tom Strode
Floyd brought his call to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening to a packed ballroom of more than 600 people at the annual Watchmen on the Wall pastors briefing. He spoke to the crowd of mostly pastors a night after preaching at a worship service in the U.S. Capitol building.

In addressing pastors May 21, Floyd said one of the most exciting things he sees currently in the church and among America's leaders "is a growing conviction that we cannot fix ourselves."

"While some would be discouraged with that, I am highly encouraged with that, because what that means [is] we are learning moment by moment that God alone is the answer," Floyd said at Watchmen on the Wall, which is sponsored by the Family Research Council.

"Every crisis we face nationally and globally is real, and never would I minimize it," said Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. "But our greatest crisis tonight is not political. Our greatest crisis tonight in America is spiritual."

For the last several months, Floyd has been urging Southern Baptists to pray for revival in the church and awakening in the country. Under his leadership, the first night of the SBC's annual meeting June 16-17 in Columbus, Ohio, will be dedicated to such a prayer focus. He has invited 11 pastors to lead the session, which is titled "A National Call for Prayer to All Southern Baptists for the Next Great Awakening and to Reach the World for Christ."

Floyd said at the Watchmen on the Wall briefing, "The need is great; the hour is late; and the alarm clock is going off in the church and going off in our nation. This is no time to push the snooze button.

"The most strategic initiative that any one of us can take tonight is to go to the God of heaven, who can do more in a moment than you can ever do in a lifetime, and appeal to Him to do what only He can do" for individuals, families, churches and the country "to the glory of God," he said.

"You see, when you pray, it shows you depend on God, and when you don't pray, it shows you depend on yourself," Floyd said.

In calling pastors to prayer and fasting, Floyd pointed to examples in the Old and New Testaments of God's people petitioning Him in dire circumstances. Under threats from the Jewish leaders in Acts 4, Christians appealed to God for continued boldness. "Prayer was not their last choice. Prayer was their first choice," Floyd said. "Prayer is not inaction. Prayer is our greatest action."

Floyd made an appeal to pastors gathered at Watchmen on the Wall that he also has made to Southern Baptists in preparation for the SBC annual meeting. The theme of the Columbus meeting is "Great Awakening: Clear Agreement, Visible Union, Extraordinary Prayer."

Floyd cited a similar appeal written by 18th-century pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards, a leader in America's first Great Awakening, urging the pastors to unite.

"Could we stand in total agreement, clear agreement that the greatest need in America is revival in the church and awakening in the nation?" Floyd asked. "Could we stand together in visible union, not making secondary matters primary [matters]?"

Floyd doesn't care where revival starts. "I want it to just start. Maybe it will spread like a wildfire across this nation," he said.

Floyd asked and answered a question related to the theme for this year's SBC annual meeting. "What is extraordinary prayer? Well, it's praying more than you're praying now," he said.

Floyd prayed for revival and awakening from the Capitol Rotunda the previous evening, leading a tour group from Watchmen on the Wall and attendees of a Capitol worship service. He asked God to "send forth a mighty, mighty, mighty revival to this church of America that the thousands and thousands of churches would begin to have the touch of God like never before and ... that You would begin the next great awakening in the United States.

"God, we believe You're able," Floyd said, "and we believe that You are up to something powerful. The desperation is rising, but the hope is greater than the desperation, because our eyes are on the Lord."

At The Jefferson Gathering, a Christian worship service for members of Congress and their staffs held in the Capitol each Wednesday since July, Floyd preached on the authority of the Bible.

"Scripture, Scripture, Scripture has to be our sole authority in our decision making," he told attendees May 20. "It filters everything else we go through in life."

Floyd encouraged listeners to embrace five convictions about God's Word:

-- God is its author.

-- Its content is perfect.

-- It addresses life and eternity.

-- It acts as "our authority."

-- It is all about Jesus.

"God's Word is completely sufficient in and of itself," Floyd said.

"I've never seen certain things in this country like I see them today, and it's dark. It's dark. We can't deny the darkness," he said. "But also we can't deny that which outweighs the darkness, and that is the light and power of God's Word."

Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service.
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