How are you praying in 2008?
Are you up to some trivia? When is prayer first mentioned in the Bible? Genesis 6 & 7, the time of the flood? Genesis 11, when the Tower of Babel was built in futility? Genesis 18, when Abraham interceded for Lot and Sodom? No. No. No. Though I have read the Bible through for many years, I found the answer in my second day of reading for 2008: “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26). There was no command from God for mankind to pray. There was no instruction as to how they should pray. There were no promises of blessings awaiting them when they prayed. Just “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” It was not the best of times, and it was the worst of times. None the less, “THEN began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” That example encouraged me to write out some prayers for Missouri and Missouri Baptists that I will pray throughout 2008.
I am praying that every Missourian will be given the opportunity to know Eternal Life in Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:13-14).
I am praying that God will open the hearts of all Missourians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. (Acts 16:14).
I am praying for every Missouri Baptist to possess the hope filled life that knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that they will go to Heaven when they die. (2 Timothy 1:12).
I am praying for Missouri Baptists to be people whose heart God has touched, thus making a difference in their homes, churches, schools, work places and social settings. (I Samuel 10:26).
I am praying for every Missouri Baptist to know the thrill of bringing somebody across the line of faith where they become a born-again member of God’s Family. (I Thessalonians 2:19).
I am praying for Missouri Baptist students to live with a clear conscience that says “NO” to the message and lifestyle of immorality that is rampant in our society. (I Timothy 4:12).
I am praying for Missouri Baptist homes to be God-built (Psalm 127:1), Christ-reflecting (Ephesians 5:21-25), and Spirit-filled (Ephesians 5:18).
I am praying for Missouri Baptist churches to be called houses of prayer (Mark 11:17), bold in sharing their faith (Acts 4:31), earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 3), kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love (Romans 12:10), and to be turning their communities upside down for Christ (Acts 17:6).
I am praying for a God-movement in evangelism involving our MBC churches wherein every church has baptisms, experiences growth and maintains an outward focus (Acts 2).
What did God do in answer to their prayers? We are not told, but, we do read that Adam and Eve had another son in those days named Seth who was not an accident (no child ever is!) because his name means “Appointed”. Seth’s name appears in the New Testament on the Patriarchal side of the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:38). All we do know is that it was at that time, “THEN” that men began to call upon the name of the Lord.”
This to I know: God will do nothing but in answer to prayer. S.D. Gordon said it this way: “Prayer is the real work of the ministry; service is just gathering in the results of prayer.” (Quiet Talks on Prayer). Bill Bright said “We must talk to God about men before we can talk to men about God.”
May 2008 be marked as the year Missouri Baptists began to call upon the name of the Lord, as never before. May God allow us to see HIM answering prayer and working miraculously in ways that only HE can get the credit!
Let me ask you to begin to pray daily for the upcoming State Evangelism Conference, January 28-29, FBC, Arnold. Bring a car/van load of people with you to the conference. Let’s believe God for the supernatural, then, seek to take what God has taught us home to apply in our lives and churches.
If God would so honor prayer in Adam’s day, what might HE do in our day, if we but “…call upon the name of the Lord.” How are you praying in 2008? (Gary Taylor is the Missouri Baptist Convention’s evangelism director.)