In Matthew Chapter 21, Jesus is beginning the last week of His earthly ministry. This final week of ministry in the life of our Savior and Lord is known as His Week of Passion.
Jesus is on His way to Calvary. Viewing Calvary through the lens of sinful man, Jesus was finished. However, immediately around the bend and the other side of death was an empty tomb.
Jesus takes the sting out of death on Resurrection Sunday. However at this point in time in Matthew 21, Jesus had much work to be done before declaring victory over death, hell, and the grave. In the same way today, in light of the insurmountable spiritual challenges on every side of us as Missouri Baptists, there is much work to be done for us today. The work to be done is done on our knees. This work is prayer.
As Missouri Baptists, we are a people of prayer. We don’t simply engage in saying prayers, we PRAY. In 2009, we as Missouri Baptist covered our entire state with prayer. From the Bootheel to the major metropolitan cities, we prayed. Churches and associations humbly bowed before the Lord in a multitude of Solemn or Sacred Assemblies.
Honestly speaking, we did not have as many people, churches, and associations to participate as we would have liked. However, we still prayed as Missouri Baptists. I am convinced that only God knows the actual number of Missouri Baptists who prayed in 2009. I believe the number is greater than the numbers we tallied in for each of our Solemn or Sacred Assemblies. If only one child prayed and that child prayed with abiding humility. I believe such a prayer unleashes the power of God.
As Missouri Baptists, we are a people of prayer. We are not a people who seek public attention or human affirmation when we humbly bow before our Heavenly Father; we simply desire to approach the “throne of grace and mercy to find help in our time of need” (Heb. 4). We know that prayer works, when we endeavor to work prayer. However, as for this work of prayer identified in the Scriptures, we as Missouri Baptists refuse to approach the Lord out of a rigid, brittle, or perfunctory orthodoxy. We realize ritualistic prayers are powerless and impotent of divine authority. As Missouri Baptists, we are not fearful when it comes to launching out into the deep despite unchartered waters and arduous challenges.
As Missouri Baptists, we are a people of prayer. As Jesus road into the city of David, Jerusalem, on the back of a donkey, prophecy was filled. “Say to the Daughters of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey’” (Matt. 21:5). As Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds went ahead of Him shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Then, Jesus sees the problem of a prayer-less church and a prayer-less people. The House of God is lacking. Everything but prayer is being carried out in the House of God – The Church. Jesus says, “It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’” This we must not do as Missouri Baptists.
I believe we as Missouri Baptists are a people of prayer. Now it is time for us to engage in prayer not only for our nation, our president, our governor, our lawmakers, our judges, and the rest, it is now time for us to pray for ourselves. We have been called of God to pray for all Southern Baptists. We need God’s help. We need God’s power. We need God’s leadership. We need God’s Holy Spirit. This is our Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Plan: The Who, When, What, Why, and How.
Who: Southern Baptists – corporately and individually
When: Jan. 31, 2010 (an all-through-the-day observance)
What: Day of Fasting, Prayer and Repentance
Why: We have forgotten our first love (Revelation 2:4) and need revival. There are many decisions being made including: the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS), and search committees for three Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) agencies. We need God’s direction.
Objective: The goal is for all of us to “Be still and know that God is God,” as a sign of our humility and desire to wholeheartedly return to Him. By our being still before Him (see Psalm 46:10), we exalt our God and position ourselves to obey the Great Commission our Lord commanded in Matthew 28:18-20.
How: 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 a 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, an extended prayer before the evening meal, or a prayer walk through the home asking for cleansing and God’s presence. Challenge every Sunday School class or Bible study group to tithe time to 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. Then on Jan. 24, ask your members to pray daily for tens of thousands of SBC congregations to participate in the Jan. 31 urgent call to prayer for the SBC.
Resources: Information to support the above ideas and more is being added daily. You may access the resource list from the GPS website, www.GPS2020.net. For more information, visit this link for a Baptist Press article: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?Id=31843.
As Missouri Baptists, we are a people of prayer. “If my people, who are called by my name, will 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” (2 Chron. 7:14). Jesus said, “My house will be called a house of prayer” (Matt. 21:13). And we as Missouri Baptists seek to allow God’s House to be His House. Missouri Baptists are people of prayer. (Bob Loggins is prayer and spiritual awakening specialist for the MBC).