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W.Va. pastor calls for solemn assembly

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–For the fourth year, a West Virginia pastor has called for a “solemn assembly” prayer gathering to ask God for revival in America, local churches and individual Christians.

The Broken Before the Throne conference, set for July 24-30 at Virginia Avenue Baptist Church in Hagerstown, Md., will focus on seven days of prayer, proclamation and worship, said Dan Biser, pastor of Zoar Baptist Church and Fox’s Hollow Baptist Church, both in West Virginia.

“It is an urgent hour for our nation, the church and families. There is a continued presence of evil eating away at families and churches,” Biser said in a statement released to Baptist Press. “Our entire Christian hope is … that the power of the resurrection is greater than any power of hell. Yet we see the church doing very little and hell is having its way with those that we love and know. What is the problem?”

A motion presented by Biser during the June 15-16 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting was ruled out of order, but the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force issued a call to prayer as part of its recommendations, which were adopted by messengers in Orlando.

“The leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention was begged to stand and call for this back in June at the convention. Past and present leadership has rejected the need or the willingness to call for such a time of prayer,” Biser said in his statement. “I am very grateful for the GCRC [sic] recommending a solemn assembly for January, 2011. But six months away from this time, there is no leading, nor format or teaching on how to do it. And who is to say that we have six months!”

The problem, Biser said, is that sin has separated God’s people from their Lord.

“Sin is abounding inside the church. Never before have we heard of such transgressions as we have heard of recently. Never have we heard of so many separations, disunity in marriages and divorce as in recent time,” Biser said. “We have sinned against the Lord in great ways and these things must be dealt with. The call for a solemn assembly is the opportunity that when things are at their worst to humble ourselves, confess and repent before the Lord and seek Him for His mercy. He has promised that if we do this, He will hear us, forgive us and return unto us.”

The contemporary solemn assembly is a time of prayer and repentance patterned after the Old Testament practice of a day of sacrifice, repentance and prayer following seven days of festival. Examples of solemn assemblies in the Old Testament are found in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 29.

Information about the July 24-30 gathering, including schedule, speakers, registration information and related devotionals, are available at www.brokenbeforethethrone.com. The gathering also will be streamed live on the Internet from that site.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.

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