Solemn Assembly hints at heart cleansing
OSAGE BEACH–They did it in the days of Moses, anticipating the Lord’s blessings upon His chosen people. They did it in New England in the 1730s and 40s, pleading for what would be known as the Great Awakening. Now it’s happened in Missouri – a Solemn Assembly: a time of begging God for revival.
More than 130 people from across the state gathered at Osage Hills Baptist Church on Oct. 28, the night before the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) annual meeting at Tan-Tar-A, in an extended prayer meeting. Gregory Frizzell, director of prayer and spiritual awakening for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), led the time of prayer and repentance. In the weeks leading up to the event, the MBC sent copies of Frizzell’s book, Returning to Holiness: A Personal and Churchwide Journey to Revival, to every MBC church in the hope that they would use the principles to prepare for the event.
The crowd wasn’t as big as the 1,644 that attended the annual meeting over the next three days, but as Frizzell put it, revivals don’t begin with a multitude.
“They never start with big numbers,” he said. “God doesn’t need them. Great revivals always start with a remnant. Our great hope tonight is that there is a growing remnant out there.”
“In all the great awakenings of history when God has poured out His spirit like a tidal wave the pattern was always the same,” Frizzell said. “God did it one way: through His people coming together through deep cleansing of the heart and total yielding to His Lordship. It’s not just prayer, it’s prayer and the cleansing of the heart.”
Frizzell led the crowd through a series of prayers and scriptural readings. He specifically asked them to repent of certain sins, among them lack of love among Christians.
“Nothing shames God’s name like lack of love between believers,” he said. “In John 15, Jesus said that if we do not abide in Him, we can do nothing. But if we do abide in Him, we will ‘bear much fruit.’ He’s talking about revival, exploding baptisms, unity and the power of God. If we’re praying for revival to solve problems that’s the wrong motive. If we’re praying so we can be more comfortable or more successful, that’s the wrong motive. Our motive must be the glory of God’s name.”
Frizzell identified six personal and corporate sins he believes frequently delay revival. They include attitudes that hinder the Gospel, unbrokenness, pride, lukewarmness, compromised standards, and a lack of Kingdom focus.
Kerry Messer, a member of First Baptist Church in Festus-Crystal City, arrived late and came in seeing tears in people’s eyes.
“After being in there a while, I realized why I saw the tears,” he said. “I was so challenged by it personally. I believe it would be beneficial to try to repeat that worship and prayer experience in my local church to do what we can to address personal holiness and bring about the possibility of true revival.”
Messer said the meeting helped him focus on the true sources and obstacles to revival.
“One of the reasons we miss revival is because every time we talk about revival, we always focus outward, not inward,” he said. “The Solemn Assembly, in a corporate setting, helped individuals focus inwardly.”