As our nation continues its plunge into financial and economic uncertainty, it would appear that God may be trying to get our attention. Whenever God rattles the financial structures of a society it is clear He is seeking to get the undivided attention of the people. Few things get our attention as quickly as a financial crisis, whether you are talking about an individual, family, church, school, or business.
In a pivotal conversation with Solomon upon the dedication of the Temple in the heart of Jerusalem, the LORD warned the king saying: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NIV).
Note the LORD said, “when” not “if” speaking of his discipline of His people. The LORD knows us all too well. He knows our hearts tend to wander, but He loves us enough to step in to get our attention before it is too late. I suspect God is up to something in the West, if not in the whole world. As Friedman observed, “The World is Flat” and our lives are becoming increasing interconnected. We may be part of a world-wide spiritual movement of “biblical” proportions!
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit with Danny Sinquefield, President of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. In the conversation he shared with me a challenge he has issued to all the presidents of our Baptist state conventions across the land. Sinquefield has called the leaders and churches of Tennessee to set aside April 15, 2009 as a day of “focused prayer” for our nation and its families.
As president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, I have asked Dr. Randel Everett to issue this call to prayer for our leaders and churches as well. As pastor of First Baptist Church of Canyon, I have joined in this effort and have called our church to a twenty-four hour day of prayer. We are asking our people to sign up and to fill our prayer room every hour of the day from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. In addition, we will have a solemn assembly for prayer at noon in our sanctuary, and our evening prayer meeting at 6:00 p.m. will be a special time of prayer for our nation. I am also challenging all our music, youth, and children’s activities on Wednesday evening to focus on praying for our nation.
Many of us for years have been praying for a spiritual awakening in our land. Could April 15, 2009 be the day the fresh winds begin to blow?