Extraordinary prayer: No bands, no parades, just prayer

Last issue I called an audible requesting Missouri Baptists on April 8 to enter into a special time of prayer and fasting.

In response, some are organizing prayer times in their homes or church houses. Others plan to join us in the Baptist Building. We are taking time to pray from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. No lunch. Just prayer. Bring a cushion for your knees.

Since I made this announcement, I have been amazed at the number of pastors and church leaders who have called or sent an email to the effect that they are with us in prayer.

I am blessed to serve among such godly people who serve in and through so many of our churches.

Prayer is the need of the hour. These are desperate times that demand our focus on the things that matter most to our God. Despite the ranting of contemporary commentators, there is a remnant of people who still believe that the Lord lives and loves people. He is the God who hears His people.

I am grateful for Greg Frizzell, who has written much on the subject of prayer. One very helpful resource is called Seven Areas for Consistent Examination and Surrender.

Here are some of the concepts:

1. Pure thoughts – “for as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Pro. 23:7). Are there any patterns of unclean or lustful thoughts? Any video, Internet or television viewing that “inflames” wrong thoughts? Are there angry thoughts – a spirit of unforgiveness? Confess and forsake what the Holy Spirit reveals to your thoughts. Ask God for His cleansing. Believe that God lives through your expressions of purity (Rom. 6:11).

2. Godly attitudes – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5). Are you mindful of spiritual things? Or are you caught in the cynical web of disbelief and fear? Is there a tendency in you to be critical? Put off the wrong attitudes and let the mind of Christ live through you. Believe Christ to live through you by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:11).

3. Holy Speech and Cyberspace – “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace unto the hearers” (Eph. 4:29). Have you spoken slang, pseudo-expletives or cursings? Have you used vulgar talk or sexist language? Do you have any patterns of critical talk, judgmental speech, divisive emails or social media? Put off all ungodly speech and yield your words spoken and written to the Lordship of Christ. Believe Christ to live through you by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:11).

4. Right Relationships – “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (Matt. 5:23-24). Is there anyone you have offended and have yet to ask forgiveness? Have you failed to make proper restitution for damages cause by your offense? Have you spoken hurtful (perhaps condemning) words to your family? Have you taken all of your relationships to the Lord and declared that that Jesus is Lord of all?

5. Rejecting Sins of Commission – “For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me” (Ps. 51:3). Is there any level of sexual immorality in your life? Do you have habits that neglect or abuse your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit? Is there anything questionable about any of your behaviors? Are you harsh toward others? Do you confess sins but fail to forsake them? Full surrender to the Lord Jesus is essential to being filled with the Holy Spirit.

6. Renouncing Sins of Omission – “Therefore to him who knows to do good and does it not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:7). Do you fail to meet with the Lord on a consistent basis in the Word and prayer? Are you inattentive to the lost people God has placed around you? Do you fail to love God by living in the power of the Holy Spirit? Have you spent what was God’s tithe? Are you stingy toward the work of God through your local church? Put off sins of neglect and put on full obedience.

7. Embracing Full Surrender and Obedience to Jesus – “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). Have you met the Lord at the altar and made fresh and full surrender of your life to Him? Has God told you to do something and you failed to obey? Have you continued to rebel against what God has clearly stated in His Word? Put off self-will and wholly surrender to Christ’s Lordship.

Until we, the people of God, experience a wholesale movement back toward a heart for the ways of the Lord, we will never have a spiritual awakening or cultural reformation.

In a concert where we all have a role to play, I invite you to join with us for a day of prayer and fasting April 8.