As I have traveled across our beautiful state, laboring before God in prayer and fasting with the believers from Kansas City to St. Louis and from the Bootheel to the breadbasket of northern Missouri, I have been richly blessed.
Missouri Baptists are praying people. In the journey across our state engaging in eight Prayer Summits, it did not matter how many of us were prostrate on our faces before the Throne of grace and mercy. Missouri Baptists prayed. It is encouraging to simply listen to the heart of our people.
In the Prayer Summits and numerous Solemn Assemblies, we have covered literally thousands upon thousands of miles from one House of Prayer (the local church) to another House of Prayer to another House of Prayer faithfully beseeching our Heavenly Father on our knees.
I have been asked from time to time, “Have we not prayed enough? We have had eight Prayer Summits, countless Solemn Assemblies, Spiritual Awakening Revival Encounters, Journey Workshop Houses of Prayer, and a litany of other prayer focus experiences. Have we not done enough praying as Missouri Baptists, and why do we need to have another Solemn Assembly at our annual meeting? Is it not true that our annual meeting is our annual business meeting?”
In other words, “Have we not done enough praying and fasting, Brother Bob?”
I must confess that this question has often caused me to search the Scriptures to make certain my advice is Biblically accurate. Then late one night the Spirit of God reminded me of “The Parable of the Persistent Widow” in Luke 18.
The story is about a widow who had a need. Her need was so profound until it literally drove her to refuse to relinquish her determination to experience the intervention of God’s power, peace, promise, presence and provisions. Her persistence moved the heart of the unjust judge. It was her unwavering desire to obtain God’s best and blessed. She refused to give up or give in one inch. As a result of her persistency, the unjust judge could no longer turn her away. Her persistency changed the heart of an unjust judge who was sinful and ungodly.
Why did he have a change of heart? What was it that moved his heart to change?
I believe the answer is in the parabolic expression of the Lord Jesus Christ. The answer is prayer. That is why Jesus told his disciples the parable. He knew that there would be those who would not come to Prayer Summits, Prayer Meetings, Solemn Assemblies, Fasting and Prayer because they thought they would have prayed enough. Jesus’ purpose was to challenge His disciples to rethink and refocus on the ongoing necessity of prayer that is coming into the awesome presence of a mighty God. Jesus said, “… we should always pray and not give up.”
The word “should” is a power descriptive word. The word “should” does not suggest that Jesus is forcing us to come into the presence of God. In other words, He is simply doing what Paul did in Romans 12. He is beseeching or begging us to come into the Lord’s presence (Rom. 12:1-2).
So, why am I asking each of you to come to our annual Solemn Assembly Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. in Springfield? Why is it so critical and necessary? It is so critically necessary because as Jesus said in the Parable of the Persistent Widow, “… men (literally, men and women) ought to always pray.” Come and keep on PRAYING! God hears and answers prayer. (Bob Loggins is prayer and spiritual awakening specialist of the Missouri Baptist Convention.)