Statewide call for ‘MOre Prayer’ warriors
One of the most neglected disciplines in the Christian experience is that of “prayer.” I honestly don’t know why we as Christians don’t pray the way God has clearly instructed us to pray (Matt. 6:9-15). It seems to be the case in far too many of our churches that prayer meetings are the least attended meetings of the church. When I was just a kid I would attend prayer meetings with my family. I would look around and there would only be a handful of people in attendance. I found it very interesting to compare the number of people who would attend revival meetings, Sunday School meetings, morning and night worship services, and even pack the pews for church business meetings, but when it came to attending prayer meetings the number dropped off enormously. This confused me as a young Christian. So, I decided to ask my aunt, who was the Woman’s Missionary Union director of our church. And she said, “Robert, that’s just the way it is.” This may be the way it is, but it does not mean that it is right. I don’t believe God is pleased when we as Christians don’t spend time in corporate prayer.
Why is it so difficult to get God’s people to stop what they are doing and simply do what God says about spending time with Him in prayer, both individually and corporately? As a pastor for well over 30 years, I have finally come to the reality that what we need to do in the body of Christ is to begin to pray about prayer. Praying about prayer is not simply praying to be praying. However, praying about prayer means becoming passionate about being in the presence of Almighty God. If there is anything that I desire for us as Missouri Baptists, it is that we would enjoy coming together in the presence of God. I hope you understand what I mean when I say, “enjoy coming together as a family of believers into the presence of God.”
Richard J. Foster in his classic work, Celebration of Discipline, calls our attention to another one of his masterful works, entitled Prayer: Finding The Heart’s True Home. Foster boldly asserts that “Prayer ushers us into the Holy of Holies of God, where we bow before the deepest mysteries of the faith, and one fears to touch the Ark” of God. Foster goes on to say, “…healthy prayer necessitates frequent experiences of the common, earthly, run-of-the-mill variety. Like walks, and talks, and good wholesome laughter. Like work in the yard, and chitchat with the neighbors, and washing windows. Like loving our spouses, and playing with our kids, and working with our colleagues. To be spiritually fit to scale the Himalayas of the spirit, we need regular exercise in the hills and valleys of ordinary Christian life,” where “Prayer and praying is normality in the midst of our humanity for the sake of true, authentic prayerful spirituality.”
Are you thirsty for God to send revival and spiritual awakening? I am convinced that it will never happen if we fail to engage in, not just prayer, but MOre Prayer (the “MO” in “MOre” harkens to the abbreviation for Missouri). We are in desperate need of MOre Prayer. Someone has rightly declared that “A prayer-less people is a power-less people.” And a prayer-less people is a prideful people. And prideful people are too proud to engage in MOre Prayer. “Heavenly Father, please help us to bow down on our knees and pray. Not just pray, but become committed to MOre Prayer. That is to pray like we have never prayed before in our entire life. Father, cause us to become desperate prayer warriors for Jesus Christ” (Eph. 6:10-20).
I desire that we as members of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) family engage in MOre Prayer, because from what I have experienced in far too many churches is the lack of prayer. We do not pray enough, both individually and corporately. We need MOre Prayer in the church. America needs MOre Prayer. We don’t need more money, we need more Master. We don’t need trillions of dollars to stimulate the economy; we need a few thirsty, God-hungry, Spirit-filled, bold, determined, and sold-out saints to get down on bended knee, bowed down face first with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, to cry out to God through the vehicle of prayer for the Lord to send revival and spiritual awakening upon the parched and hardened hearted soils of our souls.
In 2 Chronicles 6, that is what King Solomon did. He not only prayed, he engaged in MOre Prayer. Solomon, unlike far too many of us as Christians, prayed and cried out to the Lord. He prayed, “… May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplications of your servant and your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive” (2 Chron. 6:20b-21). “O Lord God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant” (2 Chron. 6:42).
This is the type of prayer I pray that we as Missouri Baptists would pray. In times like these, we need MOre Prayer. King Solomon prayed MOre Prayer. The Scripture says, “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple” (2 Chron. 7:1). This is what we need. We need “the glory” of the Lord to fill the temples of our hearts, our pastors, our people, our convention, and indeed our churches. The word for “glory” in this passage is the Hebrew word “ka^bo^d.” In one sense, the word ka^bo^d means “the heaviness or the weightiness.” The implication is that when we engage in MOre Prayer the Lord’s concern for souls becomes our concern or burden for souls. In another sense, the word ka^bo^d implies, “honor, noble, or honorable.” Thus, the “honor of the Lord filled the temple,” and when this happens everything that is not honorable is cleansed from the temple of the Lord. God cleans the entire house. Jesus said, it best, “God’s house will be called the house of prayer” (Matt. 21:13a).
How are we going to achieve all of this? What will it take to experience the presence of God’s glory in the temple of the Lord? Solomon understood how. It will take MOre Prayer! 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
What are the results of MOre Prayer? (1) Humble hearts for the Saints – “if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves …” (2) Heavy hearts for the lost sinners to be saved – “… and pray… ” (3) Hungry hearts for the Lord’s will to be done in heaven and on earth – “… and seek my face …” (4) Holy hearts for the Lord’s righteousness and truth – “… and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Now, how are we as Missouri Baptists going to engage in MOre Prayer? The Lord has placed on my heart to encourage all of us as family members in the MBC to engage in fasting and praying for 40 days. I am asking that we will do this for God’s glory. Someone might say, “We can’t do this. It’s impossible.” You are right, but God can. Philippians 4:13 says, “Christ gives me the strength to face anything.” Then, we will not say, “Look at us!” But, we will simply say, “Look at God!” We want God to do it through us. We know we can’t do a thing without God’s power, presence, peace and provisions. We need God and we need Him now. There is no other way than the way of the Cross!
Now, what are we going to use to help us in fasting and prayer? I would like to suggest that all of us in the Missouri Baptist family make a commitment to step on the path of The Journey to Wholeness & Holiness: Fasting and Praying, a book I have written on fasting and praying. For over ten years, I have been teaching the congregation that I served in before coming to MBC on the disciplines of fasting and praying. I have seen God do powerful and life-changing things as a result of my former members engaging in the disciplines of fasting and praying.
A number of our churches and pastors have successfully traveled the path on the journey to wholeness and holiness. Presently we have more than 2,000 people who have learned what it means to engage in MOre Prayer.
Revival and Spiritual Awakening is a byproduct of engaging in MOre Prayer – MOre Prayer. Lord, send a revival and let it begin with MOre Prayer!
Now, what am I asking us to do more specifically?
Let us come together as family to begin our time of fasting and praying on Sept. 16 and end on Oct. 25. This is exactly 40 days. That is 40 days of fasting and praying. (For more information contact the office of Prayer and Spiritual Awakening at 800-736-6227, Ext. 415 – Bob Loggins, or Ext. 462 – Betty Benz or you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.)
Next, I would like to invite all members of the MBC family to come to the Solemn Assembly, Oct. 25 at First Baptist Church, Raytown at 6 p.m.
Finally, while we are waiting to fast and pray and then come to the Solemn Assembly, let us begin right now to engage in MOre Prayer.
Jesus said, in Matthew 21:13a, “My house will be called a house of prayer.” At the heart of God’s house is prayer. We are called of God to engage in MOre Prayer. God bless you and keep you in His loving care. Love is the most excellent way. (Bob Loggins is MBC’s prayer and spiritual awakening specialist.)