EDITOR’S NOTE: This first-person is part of a series of first-persons Baptist Press will publish in anticipation of the 40/40 Prayer Vigil for Spiritual Revival and National Renewal. The 40/40 Prayer Vigil is an initiative of the North American Mission Board and Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission to encourage Southern Baptists and other evangelicals to pray for 40 days from Sept. 26 to Nov. 4. To learn more, visit www.4040prayer.com.
DALLAS (BP) — “Prayer invites God into the equation.” So states Mark Batterson in his book, “The Circle Maker.” As we pray during this 40/40 Prayer Vigil, we are factoring God into the equation by praying for a fresh move of His Spirit among our families, our communities and our churches. We are not asking God for a revival of morality or virtue or even common sense. We desperately need His direct intervention in the spiritual condition of our land. Our nation is in crisis, and as followers of Christ, we are called to be vigilant in prayer for it (Colossians 4:2).
God instituted the family before He did the church or the nation — it is the basic unit of society. As families go, so goes a nation. In light of that truth, it is no wonder that Christians are alarmed. If we look at the statistics, we see that divorce, substance abuse, the glorification of sexual promiscuity and all other societal ills have had a devastating effect on the American family — Christian or not. While we pray for the upcoming national election specifically, we must remember that godly leaders are usually those who come from devout families, nurtured by parents who honor the Lord and intentionally train their children to pursue God’s will for their lives.
I recently reviewed a study I did a few years ago on women in church history, from the first century to the 21st century. I was struck at how most of these women by far did not come to Christ as adults, but rather as children. From medieval mystics such as Catherine of Sienna and Joan of Arc to pastors’ wives Katie Luther and Susanna Wesley, to missionaries and social workers such as Amanda Smith, Ann Judson, Amy Carmichael, Catherine Booth, Lottie Moon and Bertha Smith, they were nurtured in the faith at an early age.
Through the teaching and guidance of their parents they developed a social conscience and a determined desire to serve God unconditionally. This is the pattern we see in Scripture, parents integrating biblical principles and truths into their daily lives and family relationships (Deuteronomy 11:19).
Clearly, the influence of godly parents is not just “taught, but caught,” as evidenced in these examples. What happened in their homes did not stay in their homes, but was generously lived out by these women and shared with a lost world. Even today, we benefit from their voices.
In light of this, it is crucial that we fervently pray for the spiritual vitality of our families. The theological and moral commitments of our future leaders are being cultivated now. The home is the laboratory of life, where all members, despite their role or age, should be seeking to live out an authentic Christianity every single day. This is inviting God into the equation!
The 40/40 Prayer Vigil is intended to move us out of spiritual apathy and into the battle. Let us faithfully pray for an outpouring of God’s spirit within our families, that we might truly be salt and light in our world and a witness to the power of the Gospel.
Susie Hawkins is an author, Bible study teacher and speaker who lives in Dallas. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).