By Allen Palmeri
JEFFERSON CITY—A March 29 prayer service for legislators inside the State Capitol Rotunda will launch Show Me Your Glory Lord, 40 days of intentional prayer and fasting for a balanced state budget in the State of Missouri.
Acting in a bipartisan manner, lawmakers faced with hundreds of millions of dollars in budget shortfalls have reached out to the Church for prayer. The Church’s bold response is to call Christians to Jefferson City for the noon event. The budget is due May 7, which will be the end of the 40-day time of intercession.
Early partners in the Balance the Budget Kingdom Prayer Initiative are the National Day of Prayer Task Force and the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC).
“The only leader here is Jesus Christ,” said Kerry Messer, MBC lobbyist.
Sue Stoltz, Midwest National Area Leader for National Day of Prayer, is taking the lead on various details of the prayer initiative. Stoltz, who works as Mid-Missouri area manager for Bott Radio Network, indicated that as of mid-March heads of several denominations were signalling they wanted to be partners. The call is for believers to prayer walk the State Capitol and meet with their representatives on March 29.
“The desire is for the (legislative) leaders to have their hearts right in order for the Lord to help them and give them favor and wisdom,” Stoltz said.
Stoltz is projecting beyond March 29 by asking communities to hold special services and prayer gatherings for lawmakers during the 40 days of prayer and fasting. She also wants to see prayer requests in the weeks ahead geared toward legislators gaining wisdom on how to balance the budget.
Cuts will be made. People will lose their jobs. Stoltz is already anticipating the pain.
“Give us the list of areas that may be affected by the cuts,” she said. “We can then let the churches know the areas that they need to come up to the plate and provide for the people in their cities.
“It is Scriptural that the Church be the one providing the needs of the people and not the government. When that takes place, people will see the goodness of the Lord and will start coming to church and give their lives to God—both the recipients and the providers. A weekly report of updates on these areas would be important so that Christians would be able to support the lawmakers in their decisions and pray specifically for those areas.”
MBC Executive Director David Tolliver agreed that now is the time for believers in towns throughout the state to step up and help.
“Local Missouri Baptist churches will need to rally around those folks in their communities that are affected by the budget cuts—whether it’s the loss of a job or loss of services,” Tolliver said. “Missouri Baptist churches will need to pick up the slack.”
Two specific leaders in need of prayer as the budget process develops are Rep. Allen Icet, R-Wildwood, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and Sen. Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Icet attends Ballwin Baptist Church, and Mayer is a deacon at First Baptist Church, Dexter.
“It gives Missouri Baptists the opportunity to pray for their own in this pivotal time,” Tolliver said.
MBC President Bruce McCoy, pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in St. Louis, has taken advantage of an opportunity provided by Bott Radio Network for pastors to record prayers for lawmakers during this time of fiscal crisis.
“The Church needs to rise from the ash heap of spiritual compromise, our pride of possessions, the reasoning away of Biblical standards, the worldliness of our lifestyles, and the immaturity of our responses when petty things don’t go our way,” McCoy said. “We try to muscle things when instead we should pray, seek the face of God, and pray for God to heal our land. He’ll do it, in part, through the turning of heads of our leadership, so we do need to pray for them.
“Let us rise up, share the Gospel, speak up for freedom, and take pride in our Western heritage. If we’ll do that, seek the face of God, what appears to be the sun setting upon the West will become, like Reagan once said, morning in America again.”