ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–To address “a moral, ethical and spiritual crisis” gripping the nation, Morris H. Chapman announced the launch of a prayer room on the Internet during his June 13 report to Southern Baptist Convention messengers at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee, said, “[T]he crisis of integrity has brought a crisis of confidence in leaders from the church house to the White House. If Americans continue to neglect the inner man, then this country is on a road to irreparable ruin.”
Moments before his address, Chapman acknowledged his usual role was not to deliver a sermon, but to provide accountability for the SBC’s financial dealings, a role which he said lacks “complete fulfillment and rest,” despite its importance.
“Every minister of the gospel has a higher calling than facts and figures,” Chapman said. “Our calling is grounded in faith, for we walk by faith and not by sight.”
Drawing on the experiences of 19th century evangelist Charles Finney, Chapman emphasized the importance of personal prayer and repentance.
“Revival is nothing else but a new beginning of a new obedience to God,” Chapman said, drawing on Finney’s words. “My heart is burdened with the knowledge that no real revival has ever occurred in history except that it was preceded by prayer.”
Prayer for revival began in 1856, and by 1859 more than a million people had been converted, recounted Chapman, who estimated that would be equivalent to 8 million today.
“You say no room is large enough for all Southern Baptists to meet for prayer,” Chapman said. “You’re right, so I’ve developed an upper room on the Internet.”
Chapman invited Southern Baptists to pray by signing up for 30-minute time slots on the new website, www.sbcpray.net, developed by the SBC Executive Committee. The site is accessible directly or through the convention’s website at www.sbc.net. Individuals also may sign up for those who do not have access to a computer.
The invitation to pray is serious, Chapman said. Those who sign up will pledge “to God” to pray for 30 minutes each week at the same time for a year.
“Dear Southern Baptists,” Chapman said, “we preach well about praying and we believe in praying, but we must with importunity and with urgency and with persistence and we must stay on our knees til God sends a revival on this nation.
“God send the fire.”