In a day of great spiritual battle, a most encouraging sign is the growing chorus of calls to prayer and repentance.
In 2010, the SBC Annual Convention committed to five years of solemn assemblies. Just this month, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) is urging special prayer for spiritual awakening throughout 2012. It is exciting to see increasing numbers of God’s people burdened for prayer and repentance. We are also seeing an explosion of new tools to help believers pray more effectively.
The BGCO Office of Prayer urges each pastor, church and individual believer to prayerfully consider how 2012 could become a year of greater prayer. And while Jan. 29 is one suggested day for prayer and solemn assembly, each pastor and church can decide the times and patterns best for their congregation. The important thing is that all believers covenant to fervently seek God’s face in the coming year. With spiritual conditions at an all-time low, and a critical upcoming national election, 2012 is not just any other year.
Opportunities Before Us
The spiritual opportunities before us are real and exciting. First and foremost, we have opportunity because of Christ’s blood and God’s grace. Though we are certainly not worthy of revival and awakening, there is hope in the greatness of God’s mercy. In the words of Jonathan Edwards, let us pray “for a surprising work of grace.”
Second, there is a significant increase of biblical tools to help pastors and churches unite in stronger prayer and repentance. Just 10 years ago, there were very few tools for corporate prayer and repentance. Today, there are many. There is no reason any pastor or church should not be equipped for powerful prayer and repentance. As we look toward Jan. 29 and beyond, I urge every pastor, church and believer to prayerfully consider some practical tools for united prayer and repentance.
• The BGCO Office of Prayer offers three practical tools for a one- to three-week emphasis of prayer and repentance. The tools are (1) Restoring Our First Love–A Solemn Assembly of Full Surrender. (2) My Covenant to Seek God’s Face (Four Bible inserts to guide personal prayer, evangelistic prayer and deep repentance. (3) How to Conduct a Solemn Assembly.
The Office of Prayer also offers many downloadable cleansing guides, solemn assembly formats and a new guide for fasting and prayer. We offer a specific downloadable pattern for fasting during the January emphasis.
• There are two quality tools from Claude King at LifeWay. One practical tool is a one-week cleansing guide titled Consecrate the People. It can be found at http://www.vimeo.com/13367310 or ordered as a booklet from www.lifeway.com. A second resource is titled Awaken 2012. This tool is a 21-day prayer and cleansing guide for use leading up to Jan. 29, and can be downloaded at http://www.vimeo.com/29506262. Both of these are solid, practical tools that I recommend with confidence.
• NAMB offers prayer aids under the title “A Call to Prayer.” The logo for this article is from that effort. The Call to Prayer centers around five points of prayer focus. (1) My Family and Friends. (2) My Church. (3) My Nation. (4) My World. (5) My Oklahoma Baptist Convention and SBC. For information and downloadable materials and helps, log on to http://www.namb.net/sbccalltoprayer/.
Praying for a Genuine
Return to God
As we can see, there are ample tools to help believers and churches deepen prayer in 2012. As pastors and churches examine different options, they may use any or a combination of today’s resources. Yet above all, there is a vital truth we must remember. God is seeking far more than general prayers and temporary emphases of surface repentance. He is seeking a restored lifestyle of biblical holiness, evangelistic praying and passionate involvement in missions. If our prayers and solemn assemblies do not bring people to a concrete covenant for ongoing prayer and evangelistic action, we will not see the awakening we seek. Whichever of the tools churches choose to use, a covenant for lasting change is crucial. To aid in this process, I especially encourage all Oklahoma Baptists to consider the tool “My Covenant to Seek God’s Face.” This covenant is available in a set of attractive Bible inserts for $1. It will work with any of the state and national resources mentioned above. May God grant us passion to seek His face.
Gregory Frizzell is prayer and spiritual awakening specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.