- Baptist Press - https://www.baptistpress.com -

FIRST-PERSON: Assist churches through elevating the ministry of prayer

NASHVILLE (BP) – When Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area, He began to teach them and said, “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?” Mark 11:17 [1].

Elevating the ministry of prayer in local churches is important work. Prayer is one of the most under-utilized resources we have been entrusted with in life and ministry. Therefore, with a deep personal conviction, we are asking the messengers to our 2021 Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville on June 15-16, 2021, to entrust us with this formal ministry assignment.

The Ministry Assignment

Until this moment, no SBC entity has had or currently holds a formal ministry assignment on prayer. We believe we can fill a significant void and help churches elevate the ministry of prayer. All the processes of adding this ministry assignment to us have been accomplished. It is now up to the messengers to the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting to consider this request.

[2]

The formal language we will ask the messengers to consider is as follows:

Assist churches through elevating the ministry of prayer.

Provide strategic leadership to lift up and promote coordinated prayer for spiritual awakening, ministry effectiveness, and the completion of the Great Commission.

Each of the words used in this ministry assignment is intentional and purposeful. When leading nationally, it must be kept as clear and straightforward as possible. We cannot do everything related to the ministry of prayer, but we can hold the banner high and implement possible strategies that will accomplish elevating the ministry of prayer.

The Potential is God-Sized

There are more than 50,000 congregations in America who are part of our SBC network of churches.  As each congregation serves as a light for the Gospel across our nation, we need each of them to do what Jesus instructs us to do—be a house of prayer for all nations. When one thinks about elevating the ministry of prayer in churches, the potential is God-sized. Just think what God can do!

We need each of these 50,000+ congregations to become houses of prayer for all the nations. We need to pray for all ethnicities to be reached for the gospel, transformed by the power of Christ, and shining brightly as real houses of prayer.

[3]

When we pray, it shows we are depending on God. When we do not pray, we are depending on ourselves. Churches who practice ongoing, consistent, dynamic prayer bring about the greatest change in their community as well as their ministry across the entire world.

Since God can do more in a moment than we can do in a lifetime, why would we not want to elevate the ministry of prayer in the church?

Mobilizing the SBC family to cooperate in a few prayer initiatives has the potential to become one of the largest prayer ministries across the globe.

Imagine with me—with 50,000+ congregations, 42 state conventions, 1,100 associations, 12 national entities, 5,000+ missionaries across North America, 3,600+ missionaries outside of the United States, and 14+ million Southern Baptist laypersons, we have the potential to become a mighty army advancing through the ministry of prayer. It has the power to change the world.

The Priorities are Clear

We believe we can provide strategic national leadership that can:

Prayer is the key to spiritual awakening. Throughout history, there is no great movement of God that has ever occurred that has not been preceded by the extraordinary prayer of God’s people. We need a Great Spiritual Awakening in our generation.

Praying together to experience ministry effectiveness is extremely important. This is why we want to pray for our churches to be effective, as well as all we do together around the world for the Great Commission. We are partners and must pray for one another. Prayer will not only lead us to spiritual power for all we do; it is also imperative for our spiritual unity. Visible union in prayer should never be minimized.

Praying together for the completion of the Great Commission is always relevant and powerful. With our cooperative work through our churches, associations, state conventions, national entities, and individual believers, we must be conscious of accomplishing the Great Commission, praying to this end, and doing our part in seeing it completed. 

I believe, to God’s glory, we can accomplish every strategic action of Vision 2025 through the power of prayer. We have the capacity to become a mighty people of God empowered to complete the Great Commission when we elevate the ministry of prayer in everything we do.

Global prayer must precede global gospel advancement.

Join us in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 15-16, 2021, to consider this important matter. We believe prayer must become one of our major initiatives for the future of all of our churches and all of the cooperative work we do together to advance the Great Commission of Jesus Christ around the world.

Now is the time to lead.