CALL TO PRAYER: Prayer and The Word of God
NASHVILLE (BP) -- As we come to the last Sunday of North American Mission Board's Call to Prayer during January, we continue to pray for spiritual awakening. As you may know, at the end of last year, I issued a call that we focus on prayer and spiritual awakening in 2013 more powerfully than ever before.
There are many reasons why we must. Look around at the spiritual needs. They are massive. We live in a country that is beset by division with competing visions and confused priorities. We are in a land of violence where we have just witnessed the anniversary of Roe v. Wade which signaled the legalized killing of millions of babies. In recent days, our hearts have been broken by what has happened in Newtown, Conn., as precious little children were killed. We live in a day and time where evil is called right and good. At the highest levels of government, we see an affirmation of things the Bible calls sin as that which is to be promoted and encouraged.
The need is great! Add to that a lack of interest in spiritual things in our nation. It could cause one to despair. Sadly, this lack of interest in spiritual things seems to have permeated even the place where spiritual fervor ought to be the strongest -- the church. There is coldness in many places. There is a "yawn" when there is a call for deep spiritual passion in many quarters. The need is great and the interest seems to be small.
However, I do believe there are people who will take seriously this call to prayer for spiritual awakening as a heart cry from our Lord.
This morning as I read God's Word, it reminded me that in 1974 I began reading the Bible through once a year. It reminded me that my prayer life is always enriched by praying the Word of God. For example, this morning my Bible reading in the Old Testament was in Genesis 41:8–42:4.
There we see the story of how God revealed His power through Joseph. Joseph chose to remain pure and suffered for that, but God eventually rescued him and blessed his life and all people for all time because of his faithfulness. What a powerful reminder of God's faithfulness. I prayed about that today and thanked God for His consistency over the years and His faithfulness to me and to all generations.
After that, I read Psalm 13:1–6. How could one not be drawn closer to the Lord when you pray these words from the psalmist: "But I have trusted in Your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in Your deliverance. I will sing to the Lord because He has treated me generously" (HCSB).
Then I read from Proverbs 3:11-12. Is that not a powerful passage to ponder? It speaks of God's love even in His discipline. Listen to these words: "Do not despise the Lord's instruction, my son, and do not loath His discipline; for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as the father, the son he delights in" (HCSB).
And then in the New Testament, I read Matthew 14:22–15:9. There we see the story of Jesus walking on the water in the midst of the storm. We see Peter wanting to follow but not having the faith necessary to keep him above the water! What a powerful prayer reminder of the power of our Lord and of our constant need.
Is that not really what prayer is all about? It is recognizing the power of our Father. It is putting ourselves in a position to respond, to listen and to obey.
Let us be a people of prayer! Let us be a people to call on our Lord more earnestly than ever before! The days are dangerous. God's people need to be faithful and passionate in their prayer lives!
Frank S. Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee. Initial articles about the Call to Prayer that Page has issued to Southern Baptists for 2013 can be read here and here.