SOLEMN ASSEMBLY: 5-day guide for repentance
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--An emphasis on repentance is at the heart of the call to solemn assembly issued in the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force report adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, and resources are available to assist pastors in leading their congregations in the spiritual exercise.
The solemn assembly is to be "for the purpose of calling Christ's people to return to God, to repentance, and to humility in service to a renewed commitment to Christ and the Great Commission," with the challenge reiterated by SBC President Bryant Wright and the leaders of the convention's entities.
At www.namb.net/sbcdayofprayer, Southern Baptists are called to pray corporately and individually on a date in January that best fits a congregation's needs. The reason for the challenge, according to the website, is because "we have forgotten our first love (Revelation 2:4) and need revival in the SBC. We need God's direction."
Among the SBC Day of Prayer resources on the website is a document titled "Heart Preparation for Solemn Assembly" adapted from a book titled "Praying God's Heart in Times Like These" by Greg Frizzell of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
"In this urgent call to prayer for Southern Baptists, it is absolutely critical that serious repentance be a central part of the emphasis," Frizzell wrote. "Unfortunately, many modern calls to prayer are somewhat lacking in deep examination and repentance. For this reason, there is often lessened impact toward true revival.
"Biblically and historically, true revival prayer always involves deep, Bible-based repentance. I am greatly encouraged that the current call to prayer from Bryant Wright is indeed a call for both prayer and repentance," Frizzell added.
The five-day guide for repentance also could be done on a Sunday afternoon, Frizzell wrote, but whether in five days or one, the important thing is to allow God to cleanse and renew the heart.
The five-day approach follows:
Day 1: Pure Thoughts and Attitudes
Scriptures: Psalm 139:23-24, Proverbs 23:7a, Matthew 22:37, Matthew 6:33, Matthew 5:28, Psalm 19:14, 2 Corinthians 10:5 and 1 Peter 5:5b.
Prayerfully work through the following reflective questions. Fully confess and forsake whatever God brings to mind. Trust God to fill and empower you with His Spirit. After each of the following questions, pause and allow God to speak.
Questions for reflection: (a) Do I tend to think more about worldly things than spiritual? ___ (b) Does the focus of my thoughts often indicate a lack of first love passion for Jesus? ___ (c) Do I spend more time on hobbies, sports or recreation than God's Word and prayer? ___ (d) Do I have any patterns of unclean or lustful thoughts? ___ (e) Have I opened the door to impurity by anything I view online or in other media? ___ (f) Do I frequently have thoughts that are envious or jealous? ___ (g) Am I overly competitive and self-exalting? ___ (h) Am I interested in serving God only if I can have a preeminent role? ___ (i) Am I determined to get my way? ___ (j) Am I overly interested in being noticed? ___ (k) Do I often have thoughts that are angry or resentful? ___ (l) Am I frequently dominated by thoughts of doubt instead of trust? ___ (m) Do I consistently harbor thoughts of bitterness and unforgiveness? ___ (n) Do I frequently brood about harsh things I would like to say to certain people or groups? ___
Confess and forsake whatever God has revealed. Surrender your thoughts and yield them to Jesus. Remember, you are fully accepted and forgiven in Christ. Believe Christ to live through you by the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:11).
For prayer and repentance, go back and review the issues God revealed for repentance. Resolve now to put off all sinful thoughts and put on Christ by faith. Be very specific in what you confess and forsake. Place strong focus on identifying the specific righteous thoughts that will replace those that are wrong. List some of your key points for change.
Pause in prayer and trust Jesus to empower you with the Holy Spirit. Believe Him to fill you with His thoughts. Trust God for the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).
Day 2: Holy Speech and Godly Communication
Scriptures: Proverbs 18:2, Proverbs 29:11, Matthew 12:36, Ephesians 4:29, Ephesians 5:4, Colossians 3:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and James 1:19.
Sins of speech are epidemic among believers. The current generation has witnessed a virtual explosion in everything from gossip and slander to angry outbursts and ungodly e-mailing. Little affects fellowship and spiritual power like unyielded tongues and reckless keypads. Fully confess and forsake all sins of speech. Trust God to fill and empower you by His Spirit. After each of the following questions, pause and give God time to speak.
Questions for reflection: (a) Have I uttered any inappropriate or slang speech? ___ (b) Do I have patterns of cursing or off-color words? ___ (c) Am I prone to exaggeration or lying? ___ (d) Do I have patterns of complaining and griping? ___ (e) Am I guilty of any form of divisive speech? ___ (f) Have I in any way spread criticism or lack of support for my spiritual leaders? ___ (g) Do I have any patterns of critical, judgmental speech? ___ (h) Have I blogged, e-mailed or forwarded anything that violated Scripture or grieved God's Spirit? ___ (i) Have I blogged or forwarded material when I was not entirely sure of its accuracy or appropriateness? ___ (j) Do I have a tendency to hurt and offend others? ___ (k) Have I said things when alone that would cause great shame if made public? ___
Remember, all will be revealed. Claim God's grace and trust Christ's indwelling Spirit for your victory.
For prayer and repentance, resolve now to put off all ungodly speech and wholly yield your tongue to Christ's lordship. Be very specific in your confession and repentance. List your key steps for obedience. Trust Jesus to fill your heart and empower your speech. Believe Him for the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.
Day 3: Right Relationships and Biblical Reconciliation
Scriptures: Matthew 5:23-24, Matthew 6:14-15, John 13:34-35, John 17:20-22, Ephesians 5:25-26, Ephesians 6:4, Ephesians 5:22, Ephesians 6:1-2 and 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13.
With God, everything is about relationship. At its heart, spirituality is about loving God and one another (Matthew 22:37-39, 5:23-24, 6:14-15). Virtually nothing grieves God's Spirit or blocks prayers like ignoring broken or damaged relationships. For this reason, it is vital that believers continually confess and forsake all relationship sins. Take your time and be very thorough. After each of the following questions, pause and allow God to speak.
Questions for reflection: (a) Is there anyone (past or present) that I have offended but have not asked forgiveness? ___ (b) Have I failed to seek full reconciliation and make restitution to anyone I have offended or in some way harmed? ___ (c) Do I harbor the slightest unforgiveness and anger toward anyone? ___ (d) Do I privately rehearse angry things I would like to say to certain people? ___ (e) Have I in any way cooled off spiritually because of disappointments with God or people? ___ (f) As a father, am I leading and training my family spiritually? ___ (g) As a mother, am I sacrificially and joyfully serving my family and guiding them spiritually? ___ (h) Have I in any way failed to honor, respect or give adequate attention and time to my parents? ___ (i) Have I spoken or e-mailed negatively about anyone? ___ (j) Have I publically criticized or maligned a fellow believer without first talking to them about the issue? ___ (k) Have I forwarded items when I was not certain of their source? ___ (l) Am I involved in any form of gossip or negative, critical speech? ___ (m) Do I tend to hurt and offend people with my words or e-mails? ___ (n) Is there any pattern of failing to respect and support my spiritual leaders? ___
All sins of relationships are serious with God. Confession must be specific and repentance complete. Ask God for clear revelation of specific steps you may need to take. Resolve to be utterly honest with yourself and resist the human tendency to rationalize sin.
For prayer and repentance, determine now to put off sins of relationship and let Jesus be Lord of all. Are there certain people from whom I need to ask forgiveness? ___ Do I need to take specific steps of restitution? ____ (Restitution means repaying something I have taken or publicly seeking to restore a reputation I have damaged.) Is there some offense or bitterness I need to finally release? ___
Be completely honest with God and yourself. If people are coming to mind with whom you need to make a contact for reconciliation, that is likely God speaking to your heart. Take time to write out specific steps for obeying God in relationships.
Pause for prayer and believe Christ to fill you with His love and power. Claim His full life and victory to operate in you. Ask in faith for the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.
Day 4: Victory Over Sins of Commission
Scriptures: Psalm 51:3 and 2 Corinthians 7:1.
Put simply, sins of commission are doing, saying or thinking anything God has forbidden. These can be anything from actions and words to thoughts or relationships. Fully confess and forsake all sins of commission. After each of the following questions, pause and allow God to speak.
Questions for reflection: (a) Am I engaged in any form of physical, mental, online or phone immorality? ___ (b) Have I compromised by viewing anything unclean via movies, television or Internet? ___ (c) Do I have habits that abuse or neglect my body? ___ (d) Do I commit idolatry by placing anyone or anything over loving and serving God? ___ (e) Have I dabbled in any form of gambling or new ageism? ___ (f) Am I doing anything about which I do not have perfect peace? ___ (g) Am I in any way harsh or unkind to others? ___ (h) Do I often confess the same sins but fail to fully forsake them? ___ (i) Have I abused God's grace by taking sin lightly? ___
For prayer and repentance, resolve now to put off disobedience and put on full surrender to Christ. Be very specific in your confession and repentance. List your actual steps for making the changes.
Pray now and trust Jesus to fill you with His Spirit and power for full repentance. Claim the victory described in Romans 6:6-14. Ask for the fire and passion of the Holy Spirit. Don't stop asking, believing and repenting until He powerfully touches your heart.
Day 5: Overcoming Sins of Omission
Scriptures: James 4:17, Proverbs 28:13 and Luke 12:47.
Sins of omission are those areas in which we consistently fail to do things God has commanded. In short, it is not doing or being what God tells us to do and be. Fully confess and forsake any patterns of omission. After each of the following questions, pause and listen for God's impressions.
Questions for reflection: (a) Am I failing to abide in Jesus by neglecting regular time in His Word and prayer? ___ (b) Do I neglect consistent times of deep Scripture-based examination and confession? ___ (c) Have I confessed certain sins but failed to fully repent and make restitution? ___ (d) Do I neglect to be a daily witness and fail to generously support evangelism and missions? ___ (e) Have I neglected to discern and use my spiritual gifts? ___ (f) Am I allowing any point of spiritual bondage to remain in my life? ___ (g) Have I failed to support and respect my spiritual leaders? ___ (h) Am I failing to daily pursue holiness? ___ (i) Am I robbing God by failing to tithe and give generous offerings beyond the tithe? ___ (j) Have I neglected to work at improving my marriage and family life? ___ (k) Do I fail to regularly pray with and disciple my family? ___
For prayer and repentance, resolve now to put off your specific sins of neglect and put on full obedience. Be specific in identifying your areas for repentance. List the specific ways you will repent.
Plan your actual steps for making the changes. Pray now and believe Christ to fill you with a spirit of total obedience. Ask in faith for the fullness of Christ in you by the Holy Spirit.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Erin Roach. For more information, contact Greg Frizzell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-942-3000, ext. 4517. A solemn assembly column by SBC President Bryant Wright can be accessed at http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=34300. To view other Baptist Press stories on the call for churches to engage in a solemn assembly in January, go to http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=34226, http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=34079 and http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=34080.