World renowned spiritual awakening historian J. Edwin Orr makes the following crucial observation about the ways of God. “When God is about to send a mighty revival, He sets His people to praying.”
Words cannot express my personal joy at seeing this growing reality in Oklahoma! For many years, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony Jordan and Oklahoma Baptists have had the burden and passion to promote prayer and spiritual awakening. Clearly, that emphasis is now intensifying among growing numbers of pastors and churches.
The Oct. 20 day of prayer and fasting was a unique call from Jordan and then convention President Nick Garland. The Lord’s presence definitely attended the meeting. Even at the BGCO Annual Meeting in November, both the practice and theme of prayer for spiritual awakening was intensified. In the past few months, Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Ronnie Floyd has placed unprecedented focus on pastors’ prayer meetings and general prayer for spiritual awakening. Even the 2015 SBC Annual Meeting will devote significant focus and practice of prayer for revival and awakening.
Best of all, growing numbers of local pastors are preaching and practicing united prayer among their people. At last, we may be seeing increasing answers to years of united prayer for spiritual awakening. Yet, we must in no way let up in our praying. There is still a long way to go for genuine revival. On Jan. 25, 2015, there is another powerful moment for intensifying the movement to seek God’s face.
/// A Special Evening of Statewide Prayer
6 p.m. , Jan. 25, 2015, Del City, First Southern
For the third consecutive year, we sense God’s call for united prayer on the Sunday evening prior to the Oklahoma State Evangelism Conference. For pastors and churches in the mid-state region, we encourage prayerful consideration of transferring their Jan. 25 evening worship services to Del City, First Southern. It will be a night of intense united prayer and worship. Both the conditions of the nation and the need for revival demand that we unite in urgent prayer and repentance. (Joel 2:12-17)
For those who have not attended previous statewide prayer meetings, it is a uniquely powerful experience in God’s presence. Whereas the Oct. 20 Day of Prayer was for pastors and leaders, the Jan. 25, 2015 evening is for all believers and churches. For churches that are not led to transfer their services, or are outside the mid-state region, we encourage a night of united prayer in their own congregations.
/// Helpful Prayer Meeting Formats for a Night of Prayer
For powerful prayer meetings in local churches, the BGCO Office of Prayer provides two optional formats for practical help. One option is shorter and simpler, with a second option being more in-depth. In both formats, there is detailed help, guiding materials and specific worship options. Yet, both formats are designed with a flexibility that avoids becoming an orchestrated program.
More information about the prayer formats can be downloaded at www.bgco.org/sec. Both formats will work equally well for local churches or whole associations uniting in prayer. May Jan. 25, 2015 truly be a statewide night to gather before God’s throne!
/// Making Prayer Meetings a Genuine Return to God
Jan. 4-25, 2015—21 Days of Repentance
As prayer meetings and revival emphases increase, there is one crucial truth to remember. If prayer does not involve deep repentance and lasting covenants for change, God is not obligated to hear. In Isa. 1:15, the Lord told His people, “though you multiply your prayers, I will not hear.” After a 45-year prayer movement coincided by the worst spiritual collapse in history, it is clear that God is not moved by general prayers and surface shows of repentance. Yet, there truly seems to be something different about the recent prayer meetings. There is evidence that increasing numbers of God’s people are ready for repentance and lasting change.
To aid and facilitate a genuine return to God, the BGCO Office of Prayer offers two Scripture-filled tools. First, the book Return to Me-Says the Lord is a 21-day journey of fervent prayer and spiritual renewal. It is powerful for individual and/or church-wide use. The 21 days of prayer and renewal is an incredible way to begin a new year. Second, the Covenants to Seek God’s Face are five Bible insert prayer guides to help believers walk in powerful daily prayer, deep surrender and fervent prayer for evangelism and spiritual awakening. Both tools are inexpensive and can be used for ongoing prayer meetings and empowered evangelism.
Believers, may we never let up in our efforts toward prayer and repentance. Though spiritual conditions of our state and nation are desperate, let us remember the encouraging words of Jonathan Edwards concerning the first Great Awakening. In describing God’s movement he said, “It was a surprising work of grace.” For the glory of His name, may God grant just such a movement in Oklahoma.