By now you have heard the appeal from many Christian leaders for churches to carve out special time on Sunday, Sept. 11, to REMEMBER and CALL OUT TO GOD.
Anyone who is 21 years of age or older probably remembers where they were on Sept. 11, 2001. Fifteen years ago on 9/11, terrorism struck our nation in a despicable, life-changing fashion. I was in the parking lot of the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City thinking, “Surely not! How can this be?” Where were you?
A total of 2,996 people were killed in America on that day and more than 6,000 others were injured by the deadliest terrorist attack in world history. Since the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor 75 years ago, Dec. 7, 1941, this one attack was the worst on American soil.
Who could allow this date to pass without remembering the pain, loss and utter shock? Who could forget those images of the jet liners flying into the World Trade Center in New York City? Who could forget the smoke billowing out of the tower and the subsequent collapse of the towers? Remember the dust-filled clouds of debris billowing down the streets of NYC and the faces of the survivors?
How quickly we forgot! While prayer meetings formed quickly on the Capitol steps and in public gatherings across the U.S. landscape, within months our nation was back to “normal.” Sadly, too many consider “normal” as behavior that has no need of repentance and no acknowledgement of God on a daily basis. Parenthetically, it is refreshing to hear some of the Olympians give glory to the Lord.
On Sept. 11, 2016, on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, I join with past SBC President Ronnie Floyd and current SBC President Steve Gaines asking every pastor and every church in Missouri to plan for a special time prayer for our nation in every worship service.
How do we pray?
Begin by calling out to the Lord with a repentant heart for our churches to be revived. Jeremiah the prophet writes, “Let us lie prostrate in our shame, and let our dishonor and confusion cover us; for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers; from our youth even to this day we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.” (Jeremiah 3:25 AMP)
Cry out to God about our own personal spiritual condition. Then pray for your own church, then the churches in your area. Too many churches are rife with strife and competing ideas. How about taking a pause, meeting at the foot of the cross, and laying our agendas and personal pride on the altar?
Would we be so bold as to invite the Lord to visit our churches in a fresh way? Ronnie Floyd said it this way, “Only revival in the church, a gospel explosion through the church, and awakening in the nation will turn around the church and nation. We need a Jesus revolution in America!”
In a bold word for our day, Dr. Floyd adds, “The church cannot call America to repent until the church repents. We need to repent of our prayerlessness. We need to repent of our unbelief. We need to pray for ourselves to get right with God and right with one another.”
Call out to God for our nation’s upcoming elections and the people who govern. We need men and women of convictional courage to serve in our nation and state offices: President, Congress, the courts, the governor and state legislature, mayors, city councils, and school boards. As Governor Mike Huckabee said recently, “No one believes as Chuck Colson said that the Kingdom of God is going to arrive on Air Force One. But somebody’s values are going to be represented in the public square, and we must engage the culture with men and women of Issachar who know the times and know what to do (1Chronicles 12:32).”
Like a car that has careened off the highway and teeters on the edge of a cliff, we as a people are a long way from where we belong. Unless wise decisions are made, disaster is sure. Join with many churches across our nation dedicating time in their Sept. 11 worship services for remembering and crying out to God with repentant hearts for His mercy and grace.
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The Floods of 2016 are catastrophic for tens of thousands. I regularly express my thankfulness to God for Missouri Baptists’ generosity toward the people impacted by the floods in lower Louisiana. It is an amazing thing to see the yellow-shirted Disaster Relief teams converge on a neighborhood to help families out of the mud. It is powerful to listen to our teams share the transformational power of the gospel.
If you cannot go yourself with a DR team, pray for the people and give generously with an open hand. You may send your donations to the MBC: Disaster Relief, 400 E. High, Jefferson City, MO 65101, or go online to give at mobaptist.org/dr/dr-alert/. Finally, you may want to receive an offering at your local church that is sent through MBC Disaster Relief. We carefully invest your gifts to directly help people and share the gospel.