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The air which our body requires envelops us on every hand. The air of itself seeks to enter our bodies and, for this reason exerts pressure upon us. It is well known that it is more difficult to hold one’s breath than it is to breathe. We need but exercise our organs of respiration, and air will air will enter forthwith into our lungs and perform its life-giving function to the entire body.
The air which our souls needs also envelops all of us at all times and on all sides. God is round about us in Christ on every hand, with His many-sided and all sufficient grace. All we need to do is to open our hearts. Prayer is the breath of the soul, the organ by which we receive Christ into our parched and withered hearts.
“A congregation without a prayer meeting is essentially defective in its organization, and so must be limited in its efficiency.”
~ The Prayer Meeting and Its History, J. B. Johnston
November 21 2014 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press
Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Ronnie Floyd has released a motivational tool book to help pastors and churches across the SBC engage in concerted prayer for the next great awakening in advance of the 2015 annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
Floyd announced the release of his ebook in a press conference call Nov. 19, joined by Southern Baptist editors, writers and state convention leaders. The announcement also marked the release of the annual meeting theme, “Great Awakening: Clear Agreement, Visible Union, Extraordinary Prayer,” based on Romans 13:11, for the June 16-17 gathering.
During the conference call, Floyd highlighted several recommendations from his ebook: intercessory prayer for pastors on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings in advance of weekly sermons; a month of preaching on the subjects of repentance, extraordinary prayer, revival, awakening and teaching on God’s word; the dedication of a full Sunday morning worship service to congregational prayer; a day of prayer and fasting in May, and attendance at the Columbus meeting.
Floyd’s ebook, “Pleading with Southern Baptists To Humbly Come Together before God in Clear Agreement, Visible Union, and in Extraordinary Prayer for the Next Great Awakening and for the World to Be Reached for Christ,” is available for free download at pray4awakening.com, sbc.net, RonnieFloyd.com, ibookstore.com and other sites. Additional tools and resources to promote the call to prayer are available on pray4awakening.com, including sermons from SBC pastors, encouraging pastors to learn from one another, Floyd said.
“I believe pastors need handles,” he said of the ebook. “I think sometimes we operate in generalities, like you should do this, or you should do that. But I also believe there’s historical precedence set in the awakenings, of them coming to agreement about a certain thing.
“I mean for example, let’s just say that a few hundred of our churches would really try their very best to have a month where they’re preaching on matters like repentance, and revival and awakening and reaching the world for Christ, and fasting and those kind of matters,” he said. “I mean that makes a major difference.”
Southern Baptists need to be in prayer for their churches, for their pastors, Floyd said. He called for three minutes of prayer each Saturday evening and Sunday morning for the anointing of God to come upon pastors as they preach His Word.
“I think we’ll have less conflict if we learn how to pray together,” he said. “And we’ll have a greater force of the Holy Spirit and His power in our churches if we pray regularly. And the sunrise and sunset is an image; that’s all it is. It’s a reminder to pray, either one or the other, when people get up or when they go to bed at night.”
Floyd compiled the book in consultation with theologians and leaders across the SBC, and referenced such stalwarts as Billy Graham, Jonathan Edwards, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Jeremiah Lanphier, Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody and William Booth.
“Surely we can embrace with clear agreement that spiritual revival personally, spiritual revival in the church, and spiritual awakening in the nation are all needed so we can accelerate our pace in reaching the world for Christ,” Floyd wrote in the book. “Certainly we can deny ourselves, defer our own preferences, and visibly unite in extraordinary prayer for the next Great Awakening and for the world to be reached for Christ.”
“This is revival from Heaven!–When men in the streets are afraid to speak godless words for that God’s judgment will fall! When sinners, aware of the fire of God’s presence, tremble in the streets and cry out for mercy! When, without human advertising, the Holy Spirit sweeps across cities and towns in supernatural power and holds people in the grip of terrifying conviction. When every store becomes a pulpit, every heart an altar, every home a sanctuary, and people walk carefully before God–this is revival.”
~ Wesley Adams, The Fire of God’s Presence, 13.
“If we cannot make revival happen, we can at least stop hindering it!”
~ Wolfgang Simson, Houses that Change the World, page 104.
Prayer concerns three, not two but three. God to whom we pray, the man on the contested earth who prays, and the evil one against whom we pray. And the purpose of the prayer is not to persuade or influence God, but to join forces with Him against the enemy. Not towards God, but with God against Satan–that is the main thing to keep in mind in prayer.