ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Recognizing both the power of prayer and the urgent need for men to pray, the North American Mission Board is issuing a call for Baptist men to engage in focused prayer in January.
The result could be the largest-ever combined prayer effort by Southern Baptist men in praying for God to do a fresh work among them and across North America.
To help men do this, NAMB’s mission education team has prepared a 31-day prayer guide to lead men in seven areas of prayer: recognize God’s plan for men; a call to holiness; confession and repentance; passion for the church as the bride of Christ; models of mission action; the hearts of men; and workers for the harvest.
“We’re convinced we won’t have clarity of purpose and mission in our churches without a genuine movement of God,” said Jim Burton, NAMB’s mission education team leader. “There’s no resource we can create that can replace a genuine movement of God among men, so that’s what Baptist men will be praying for in January.”
Burton said state mission education leaders affirmed the idea to mobilize Southern Baptist men in prayer at the 2008 NAMB Mission Education Roundtable in New Orleans. The state leaders were concerned by a decline in Baptist men’s enrollment over the past decade, but more concerned about the deep need for a movement of God among Christian men in Southern Baptist churches.
At first the plan was for state and national mission education leaders to pray together during January for the future of men’s work within the Southern Baptist Convention. NAMB’s Baptist Men’s Task Force recommended involving local churches in the effort. Now more than 50,000 copies of the prayer guide have been printed and more have been downloaded online.
“We need to pray that God will do a work among the men of our churches,” Burton said. “Many of the re-occurring issues in our culture can be traced to fathers being absent physically, emotionally and spiritually. God has called men to lead their families on mission. We cannot be a convention on mission until our men are leading their families to do likewise.”
The January prayer focus comes as NAMB launches the SBC’s first-ever weekly men’s mission education curriculum. Baptist Men Online, a weekly e-newsletter available free of charge beginning in January, will include a missions focus article; a personal development article; weekly small-group accountability plans; urgent mission prayer requests; and monthly mission meeting plans.
In the past, Baptist Men have used monthly mission education curriculum provided first by the SBC’s former Brotherhood Commission and then by NAMB. Churches that mobilize men to pray together during January are encouraged to then use the Baptist Men Online curriculum to begin or strengthen a men’s ministry in their church.
“We’re seeing a real desire among men to connect with God’s purpose in a way that’s real,” Burton said. “We believe Baptist Men Online can be a vehicle to help them do that.”
Tobin Perry is editor of Crusader magazine at the North American Mission Board. The 31-day prayer guide can be either downloaded from the Baptist Men’s national website at www.bmen.net or ordered from Baptist state convention mission education leaders. To sign up for Baptist Men Online, visit www.bmen.net.