How glorious when God confirms that His hand is at work. Even as we have been fervently preparing for the Jan. 27 Return to Me emphasis across Oklahoma, Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, is now urging that all of this year be dedicated toward prayer and spiritual awakening.
In all my years of ministry, this is among the most exciting things to come forth. Beyond question, genuine spiritual awakening is our greatest need. The Jan. 27 Return to Me emphasis needs to be the deepening of a “new movement,” not just another event that comes and goes. In light of today’s conditions, the urgent cry for revival and spiritual awakening has to be far more than another temporary theme. A covenant to return to God in deeper prayer and repentance must be an ever-deepening emphasis until He moves, whether it is 2013, 2014 or beyond.
A deepening movement is precisely the commitment of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Office of Prayer. My growing commitment is the urgency of better equipping God’s people for deep lasting repentance and fervent kingdom prayer. The crucial need is a genuine return to God in the type of prayer that releases true New Testament evangelism and missions.
We must fully embrace the understanding that Acts 1:8 evangelism and missions requires Acts 1:4 prayer, repentance and empowerment. The inexpensive resource Return to Me is designed for that exact purpose. It engenders the type of full surrender and fervent prayer that is always necessary for sweeping evangelism, missions and spiritual awakening.
A five-part covenant to walk in revival
In considering what it means to truly return to God, it is clearly more than just saying some prayers or saying we repent. The critical need is to restore foundational ongoing patterns of deeper prayer and New Testament empowerment. To fully return to God, believers and churches must covenant to at least five concrete patterns.
1. Believers must embrace a first-love passion to know, love and fear God with all their hearts. Our passion must be spreading Christ’s Kingdom and glory throughout the Earth.
2. Believers must commit to walk daily in deeper cleansing and full surrender to Christ’s Lordship.
3. Believers must commit to an abiding daily prayer life that is not excessively brief, surface or self-focused. Churches must covenant to become houses of fervent Kingdom-focused prayer.
4. Believers must covenant to pray for specific lost people and missions with concrete steps of personal involvement. (Witnessing, giving and mission projects.)
5. Believers must covenant to consistently pray for revival and spiritual awakening. Churches must covenant to corporately pray and labor for spiritual awakening in our day. If societal conditions worsen before they get better, we are to pray for wisdom and power to be God’s victorious remnant in a day of judgment.
The resource Return to Me fully embraces all five covenants and provides practical Bible inserts to help believers and churches walk in those commitments. The covenant inserts are powerful for personal quiet times or corporate and small group prayer meetings. Whether or not people use the entire book, the Bible covenant insert cards are available at nominal costs and a covenant can be downloaded from our website.
All are urged to attend the Return to Me Night of Prayer from 5:30-7 p.m., Jan. 27 at Oklahoma City, Southern Hills, 8601 S. Pennsylvania Ave. As our BGCO State Evangelism Team has stated, there can be no better way to precede the State Evangelism Conference than with fervent prayer and repentance. Those who attend the Sunday evening solemn assembly will receive a gift set of the Bible insert prayer guides. For congregations that observe the night of prayer in their own church, a downloadable service format is available on the BGCO website.
In coming days, the Office of Prayer will be providing new materials for conducting powerful corporate meetings of prayer and repentance. An exciting upcoming emphasis will be a monthly Sunday night of prayer statewide. In the words of Frank Page, 2013 needs to be the beginning of a call to prayer and repentance “like none before.” With critical moral issues before the Supreme Court and ever-worsening societal conditions, the time is now. Let us seek God until He rends the heavens, cleanses our sin and rains righteousness upon His people. (Isaiah 64:1-5; Hosea 10:12)
The Return to Me Night of Prayer from 5:30-7 p.m. on Jan. 27 at Oklahoma City, Southern Hills, precedes the State Evangelism Conference. Visit www.bgco.org/sec for more.