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In drought, pray for forgiveness, not just for rain, Blackaby says

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–During the Texas drought last summer, noted author and speaker Henry Blackaby didn’t pray for rain — he prayed for forgiveness.
“Is there anything in Texas that might cause God to withhold the rain to get the heart of his people to return to him, to seek his face in repentance and prayer and confessing of sin so that he could heal the land?” Blackaby recalled asking himself during one of the worst droughts in Texas history.
Blackaby, keynote speaker at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Church Music Workshop Feb. 15-19, used his experience to remind workshop participants that God still uses natural events to get people’s attention.
Referring to the seventh chapter of 2 Chronicles, when the Lord told Solomon that his people needed to humble themselves and pray because there was no rain, Blackaby asked the students, “Did you read this Scripture (last summer) and believe him?”
Blackaby said Christians should make the connection that God can find the same sin of pride in today’s culture and can use the same means to bring people to repentance.
“My heart cry (during the drought) was that Texas Baptists will have made the connection because the healing of the land depends on it,” Blackaby said.
Emphasizing the need to examine one’s own heart and discover what God might be trying to show through a drought, he asked, “Did you cry out for rain or for forgiveness?”
Blackaby made his remarks in a message on prayer, the last in a series of lectures on worship at the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary.
Tapping into the energy and power of God through prayer is a vital element in a Christian’s life, he said.
Jesus patterned his life around prayer, Blackaby said, and Christians should do the same.
Blackaby reminded students of the story in the 19th chapter of Luke in which Jesus confronted the moneychangers in the temple who were defiling it.
Jesus’ response was, “My house shall be a house of prayer,” Blackaby said.
Noting Jesus tolerated many sins of the people, Blackaby said Jesus drew the line at defiling the temple.
“Jesus knew that the Father had established a house of prayer” and Jesus was trying to maintain it, Blackaby said.
“When Jesus said, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ he meant the whole people of God should be immersed in prayer,” Blackaby added.
Blackaby said Christians need to maintain their lives as houses of prayer, making prayer a vital part of every day.
“Prayer is more than just a prayer meeting on Wednesday night,” he said, adding that Christians’ lives ought to be “saturated in prayer.”
Neglecting prayer, Blackaby said, will result in God’s judgment.
“How serious is it in the mind of God for people not to be a people of prayer?” he asked. When Jesus went into the temple and saw people misusing it and corrupting it, “he knew why the judgment had come to God’s people,” Blackaby said.
Blackaby said not knowing how to pray or what to pray is not an excuse because God anticipates Christians’ prayers.
“When the people of God go before God in prayer, the blessed Holy Spirit, fresh from the presence of the Father, comes to instruct us as to what we ought to pray,” Blackaby said.

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  • Robyn Little