Revival in churches and spiritual awakening needed in Illinois
NEWS | Eric Reed
“It is good for us to draw nigh unto God in prayer,” Charles Spurgeon urged his contemporaries 150 years ago. “Our minds are grieved to see so little attention given to united prayer by many churches.”
His words sound familiar today.
“I believe we need to cry out to God for spiritual awakening in our state, and for revival in our churches,” said Nate Adams, executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association, calling on messengers to the IBSA Annual Meeting to come prepared for a “Concert of Prayer.”
“I believe many pastors and church leaders across Illinois are working tirelessly every week, with Great Commission hearts and toward Kingdom purposes. I know our IBSA staff are,” Adams said. “Yet our impact is not keeping pace with the increasing lostness of Illinois.
“So at the Wednesday evening session of this year’s Annual Meeting, we are choosing to focus less on what we have been doing, and more on asking God to do what only He can.”
The call for prayer for revival and spiritual awakening in Illinois, in development over a period of months, appears to be part of a larger work God is doing among Southern Baptists. Seemingly independent of each other, special prayer meetings have arisen in several neighboring states.
And SBC President Ronnie Floyd called pastors together for prayer on several occasions prior to his election. “No great movement of God ever occurs without first being preceded by the extraordinary prayer of God’s people,” Floyd said.
“I really believe that the real key to the future of our entire nation and the church of Jesus Christ in America and beyond is if the United States, the church of the United States has a major spiritual awakening.”
The state of our state
The entire Annual Meeting will be permeated by prayer, leading to a special Concert of Prayer on Wednesday evening. Following the pattern in Isaiah 6:1-8, messengers will be guided through a cycle of prayer:
“We don’t lament anymore,” Adams observed. It’s not characteristic of evangelical culture to identify our sins and wail over them as the Jews do, or to pound our chest as the Orthodox do. Given the grievous sins of our culture and our nation today, a period of lament will require that we identify them, then think about them for a while before rushing to repentance.
The Isaiah cycle leads pray-ers to repent of their own sins and the sins of the nation, as Isaiah did when confessing the “unclean lips” of himself and his people.
A season of intercession for the lost will bring the needs of Illinois before God and His people, and ultimately, the need for God’s people to commit afresh to renewal of their service and seeking the salvation of lost people.
The musical group Veritas will help guide the phases in the Concert of Prayer, with seasons of worship at the beginning and end.
“Frankly, it’s uncomfortable for me personally to devote the core of our IBSA Annual Meeting to worship and prayer time where we simply gather and ask God to move in our hearts,” Adams said. “I’m a planner and a doer, and our Wednesday night sessions are usually well programmed. But this year our primary program is prayer. May the Lord honor our desire to hear specially from Him.”
For a complete preview of the IBSA Annual Meeting and Pastors’ Conference, go to www.IBSA.org.ibsa2014.