SBC PRESIDENT: Jan. 31, a day of prayer for the Southern Baptist Convention

WOODSTOCK, Ga. (BP)--We live in unprecedented times, with Christian and moral foundations rapidly crumbling before our very eyes. Meanwhile, many Christian churches, which should be a mighty force ready to spread salt and light in this dark world, are unprepared. God's glory has been set aside while other things have overshadowed our first love.

The reputation of SBC churches is akin to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-5. Jesus commended them for doing many good things, but called them to repent. Baptism rates are down, divorce rates are up and too many families are falling apart. We're busy doing church but we have lost our connection to the power of Almighty God.

Because of this, we established a Great Commission Resurgence Task Force at the Southern Baptist Convention in June. The chairman, Ronnie Floyd, has called for 5,000 prayer partners to join www.Pray4GCR.com in praying for wisdom for this group. I praise God for the hearty response and the prayers.

Since God requires humility, confession and complete dependence on Him before granting healing to a land (2 Chron. 7:14), it is time to ramp it up a notch by inviting all SBC churches to set aside Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010, to pray specifically for our denomination.

I'm making this call in response to a request I received from Richard Harris, interim president of the North American Mission Board, and Frank Page, NAMB's vice president for evangelism, who heartily endorsed an idea submitted by NAMB prayer coordinator Elaine Helms on behalf of our SBC national agency and state convention prayer leaders.

At their annual "PrayerLink" meeting held in Vancouver, Canada, in October, our prayer leadership spent much time in prayer and felt led to ask all Southern Baptists to pray for the Southern Baptist Convention without delay.

"In light of the moral decline across North America, the meetings of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, God's Plan for Sharing and the 2010 campaign 'Across North America' and search committees for three of the entities -- the Executive Committee, the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board," the group said, "if not now, when?"

We are asking you, pastors, to not only incorporate a season of prayer for our denomination into your regular worship services on Sunday, Jan. 31, but to make provision and give direction for a full day of prayer focus. The prayer leaders are prepared to provide free downloadable resources to assist in a meaningful day of seeking God on His terms. Some of the suggested things to pray for include:

-- A spirit of repentance to fall on our churches corporately and personally for individuals, and for genuine revival of first love for Jesus. (See Matt. 4:17; Rev. 2:4.)

-- A great spiritual awakening across our land so that the lost will be drawn to a personal relationship with Jesus. (See John 6:44; Rom. 1:19; 2 Cor. 2:14.)

-- A sweet spirit of reconciliation among any Southern Baptists who are at odds with each other, or other works of God. Love for one another in the body of Christ to grow and blossom. (See Prov. 28:13; 1 Cor. 12:25-27; John 13:34-35.)

-- Wisdom for the members of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force as they prepare their report in February. (See Jer. 33:3; James 1:5.)

-- Guidance for the search committees for presidents of the Executive Committee, the International Mission Board, and the North American Mission Board. (See Prov. 3:5-6, 13, 15:22, 27:17; Acts 1:21-26.)

More ideas will be shared and we look forward to response and suggestions from you. This is a time to consecrate ourselves and be ready for what God may want to do among us. "Then Joshua said to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.'" (Joshua 3:5)


Johnny Hunt is pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., and president of the Southern Baptist Convention.