Coronavirus, prayer and the awakening
May 27th, 2020 / By: Kie Bowman | SBTC President / comments
Imagine I had come to you six months ago with a wild prediction. What if I had said then that schools and businesses across the United States would shut down? Airlines will ground their planes. Millions of Americans will stay home for nearly two months. The stock market will fall like it’s 1929, then follow the volatile path of a ride at Six Flags. Meanwhile, 20 million people will suddenly file for unemployment. And, by the way, pastors of all size churches and all denominations will be preaching to completely empty churches, except for skeleton media crews. One other thing in my prediction: Everywhere we go, when we do venture out of our homes, we will all wear masks.
What would you think? Would you have believed my gloom and doom, apocalyptic forecast? Of course not.
Allow me extend this hypothetical prediction. What if six months ago I would have told you that in the midst of the financial and social meltdown of the coming days, Christians everywhere would see God at work in all of it to bring about spiritual awakening?
I didn’t predict any of that of course, but it all happened. Through it all, in a way we could have never imagined, God has been moving; revival may be coming; and the prayer movement is the tip of the spear.
For instance, during one week in early May a rapid series of three seemingly unrelated events occurred which stirred my heart with hope. First, I was contacted by a national prayer leader about participating in a Zoom conference call with one of our denominational leaders and three other leaders from the wider Christian family. These men explained to us they had formed an interdenominational prayer ministry based on 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 called UNITE714. In surprising alacrity, the ministry had spread to 178 countries in seven weeks! Amazingly, prayer is spreading faster than COVID-19.
Next, that same week, I was alerted to the story about a 95-year-old Baptist preacher who spends hours a day on a prayer mountain seeking God for spiritual awakening. He and a few others were hoping to have 100 pastors join them on the mountain on May 5 to pray for revival. Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus they couldn’t gather 100 people together in person; so they took their “Praying on the Mountain” invitation online and 265,000 people signed up to pray and fast for awakening that day!
Finally, during an early morning Zoom call with Dave Butts, the Chairman of the National Prayer Committee (the parent organization of the National Day of Prayer) Dave said, “I’ve never said this before, but the revival has begun.” He means the awakening Christians have been praying about for years has started. Of course time will tell, but when a respected national leader says something as bold as that it can give us all reason to hope and double down in prayer. Perhaps God is preparing us for the next great awakening!
Fortunately, every believer can pray and most do; but many people today long for a prayer life of greater consistency, intimacy and even intensity. Jonathan Edwards, the leader of the First Great Awakening, referred to “extraordinary prayer” as a key to revival. Whatever extraordinary prayer may mean to us, there could be no better time than now to pursue it.
As our churches are reopening and searching for our new normal, the time is right for rethinking and improving the prayer ministries of our churches. The SBTC has developed excellent resources to assist any church in the ministry of prayer. For instance, there are two resources at sbtexas.com any church will find helpful. “We Will Pray” is a strategy for developing a culture of prayer in our churches. “Praying for the Lost” equips believers to pray passionately and effectively for lost people. I encourage you to visit the prayer ministry resources page at sbtexas.com. Let’s take our prayer life and our church prayer ministries to the next level.
God is moving and people of prayer are moving with him. Something is coming, so let’s get going!