As Election Day approaches, we as Christians know we need to be committed to praying for the outcome and for those who will be elected to lead us. But even more importantly, milestone moments like this in our history should remind us of the importance of asking God for spiritual awakening in our land.
It has been a great privilege for me this past year to travel much of North America, meeting and interacting with all types of people. Yes, they are concerned about who will lead our nation in the years to come. Yes, they worry about the weak economy and high gasoline prices. But there is also a deep concern about the spiritual life of North America.
On our own, we can't do anything about our nation's spiritual health. Unless God sends revival and unless He sends renewal, we are not going to see the changes in North America that we long for.
That is why the North American Mission Board (NAMB) is partnering with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) to call Southern Baptists to forty days of prayer leading up to this year's election. I'm excited about what this means for North America as we begin to think about what spiritual awakening would mean to this continent.
Recently, I was reading in Isaiah 64 where the prophet prayed, If only You would tear the heavens open [and] come down … so that nations will tremble at Your presence! Don't you yearn to see such a day in North America? We wouldn't have to worry about churches with low or no baptisms. We wouldn't be talking about churches that were plateaued. We'd be busy starting new churches just to have enough places for all of those who were coming to Christ!
Recently, our agency had the privilege of introducing Southern Baptists to the new National Evangelism Initiative, God's Plan for Sharing. As we launch the initiative over the next two years and implement it through the year 2020, the first milepost along the road is prayer. In praying for spiritual renewal for our land, let's especially focus on people who don't yet know Christ.
We must be united in our prayer and acknowledge that God is the one who has to do the work in and through us. He raises up the workers. His Holy Spirit makes people aware of their need for Him. If we work in our own strength, we won't make any progress. When we pray, we will be more dependent on God, more aligned with His will, and more fruitful in our work. And He will choose to demonstrate His power in through the prayers of His people.
As you and your church seek to have a positive influence on this year's elections, I encourage you to visit www.ilivevalues.com. You will find resources from NAMB and the ERLC that will help you more effectively pray for our nation. You can also visit www.namb.net and click on the prayer area.
Just as NAMB and the ERLC have united to call Southern Baptists to this prayer initiative, I hope every Southern Baptist can be united in joining hearts and hands in praying for spiritual awakening in our land. The only enduring hope for our nation is for its people to turn from themselves to our Heavenly Father.