Jan. 31 prayer day crucial, GCR's Floyd says
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Prayer for a Great Commission Resurgence among Southern Baptists is paramount as the convention's task force meets in San Antonio, Texas, and prepares for a Feb. 22-23 report to the SBC Executive Committee, said Ronnie Floyd, chairman of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.
Floyd made his comments prior to the Jan. 31 national day of prayer for the Southern Baptist Convention that SBC President Johnny Hunt called for in early December.
"Pray for us in these significant days," Floyd wrote in a blog post Jan. 26, as the task force convened in San Antonio for a marathon three-day meeting at the Hotel Contessa to hammer out its preliminary report for the Executive Committee.
"We will bear the responsibility and accountability of making decisions that will possibly impact the future in a historic manner," Floyd wrote. "Personally and collectively, we feel the weight of this responsibility and hold it as a sacred trust. Our number one desire is to bring glory to God. May this happen in our decision-making, our upcoming presentation and in the response of the Southern Baptist Convention to it."
The task force's final report will be presented at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., June 15-16, for a vote by messengers.
The need for prayer is accentuated because too many churches have allowed other concerns to overshadow their "first love" for Christ and His mission," Hunt said when he issued the call for a day of prayer Dec. 9.
"We live in unprecedented times, with Christian and moral foundations rapidly crumbling before our very eyes," Hunt said. "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," Hunt added. "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."
At the time, Hunt noted that "God requires humility, confession and complete dependence on Him before granting healing to a land (2 Chronicles 7:14)," and said "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."
Hunt suggested five points on which prayer could be focused:
-- 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.)
In early January, Hunt suggested several ways congregations could prepare for and participate in the emphasis:
-- Distribute personal preparation guides for cleansing and restoration and instruct every church member on how to use it through the day.
-- Plan a solemn assembly or a concert of prayer for the whole congregation or the entire association.
-- Hold prayer gatherings by Sunday School classes or Bible study groups.
-- Encourage families to have a focused prayer time acknowledging God alone is God. For example, a family may hold an extended prayer before the evening meal, or a prayerwalk through the home, asking for cleansing and God's presence.
-- Challenge every Sunday School class or Bible study group to tithe their time in contrite prayer for spiritual awakening.
-- Extend the pastoral prayer and invite several to read scriptural prayers and admonitions.
-- Preach a sermon on prayer, stopping at each point to lead the congregation in application praying.
Information to support the day of prayer is available at www.GPS2020.net.
The task force meetings in San Antonio are focused on how Southern Baptists can make the greatest impact for the Gospel at home and abroad, Floyd said in his blog post.
"These meetings are about the Great Commission of Jesus Christ," Floyd wrote. "We are not meeting for any other purpose than how to bring our churches and our convention itself into maximizing our impact to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ regionally, nationally, and globally.
"This should be a very exciting time for our entire convention of churches," Floyd added. "Just think, many denominations don't even consider anything about the Great Commission. We are saying it is our mandate, and now is the time for us to do everything we can do to advance the gospel to places where it has never been before. These places exist in each one of our church fields, as well as all across our nation, and of course worldwide. I am telling you, we do not need to be fretting about the outcome of our recommendations, but anticipating what God wants to do among us."
When the task force was established this past summer, Floyd had called for 5,000 prayer partners to sign up at www.Pray4GCR.com to pray for the task force in its work. As of Jan. 27, 6,055 individuals had signed up to pray.
Mark Kelly is an assistant editor with Baptist Press.