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Seminary professor named to national prayer group

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–A national, interdenominational group dedicated to prayer and evangelism could be an important channel through which God creates the conditions for revival in America, said a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor who has been named a senior adviser to the organization.

Dan Crawford, professor of evangelism and spiritual formation at the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary, has been a part of the National Prayer Committee since his selection last year and is currently the only representative from a Southern Baptist entity or seminary serving as a senior adviser to the group.

NPC, which is part of the Mission America movement, might be a “primary channel” God can use to create the conditions for spiritual awakening in America, Crawford said.

The unity of Christians from different denominations coming together as one to pray, he said, is one of the main factors stirring his hope for revival.

Christians do a good job of praying in their own camps, but for revival to occur a united front is needed, Crawford said, and the NPC is a group that might accomplish that.

“God didn’t ask just Baptists to pray or just Pentecostals to pray,” he said. “He asked his people to pray.”

While he sees sparks of revival — “mercy drops” and “brushfires” — happening, “God only sends revival when his people are spiritually prepared for it,” Crawford said, noting that today’s society is not prepared.

Revivals today spring up in one place or another, but nothing is happening on the order of the Great Awakenings of the 1700s and 1800s or the Jesus Movement of the 1960s, he said.

Part of that problem, Crawford noted, is that Christians do not follow the formula in 2 Chronicles 7:14, in which God’s people are first to humble themselves, then pray, seek God and turn from their wicked ways.

“We’re big on prayer but not on humbling ourselves,” he said.

Nearly 20 years old, NPC is under the umbrella of Mission America, an ongoing effort to evangelize and pray for revival and spiritual awakening in America.

The national senior advisers are one of four smaller groups, or “spheres,” within NPC. Crawford is one of some 75 advisers, who include Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill McCartney, president of Promise Keepers; and noted author Joni Erickson-Tada.

The senior advisers, according to chairman David Bryant, are “drawn from a cross section of national Christian leaders who have a burden for a prayer/revival movement.” Their primary duty is to provide counsel and give input to NPC’s working committee, which is the source for most NPC initiatives.

The advisers also hear reports of NPC’s various activities, such as the National Day of Prayer, See You At the Pole and Concert of Prayer city rallies.

One of the reasons Crawford is participating with NPC, he said, can be illustrated by an experience he had at the last meeting of the senior advisers in Houston in November. Crawford was working on a book about the shootings at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, and the group’s members took 30 minutes out of their agenda to lay hands on him and pray for the anointing of the book.

Reflecting on the “spiritual energy” that came out of that meeting, Crawford said, “I value the friendships and support that I gain from being part of this group.”

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  • Cory J. Hailey