For the fifth consecutive year, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) is calling on all N.C. Baptists to unite together in 30 days of focused prayer for revival and spiritual awakening during the month of October.
Chris Schofield, director of the BSC’s Office of Prayer for Evangelization and Spiritual Awakening, has authored a devotional prayer guide for October’s “Pray for 30 Days” emphasis.
The devotional is titled, “Impact,” with aligns with the theme of this year’s BSC annual meeting, scheduled for Nov. 14-15 in Greensboro.
Individuals may download a copy of the devotional or purchase a printed copy by visiting prayfor30days.org. Many additional resources are also available at the website, including resources in Spanish.
Schofield recently took some time to answer some questions related to this prayer, spiritual awakening and this year’s prayer emphasis. His responses are below.
Q: Why is prayer a necessary first step for believers individually and the church collectively to have an impact on the world for Christ?
A: Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with Christ. If we are not setting our hearts and our lives and our focus on Him in prayer, then we’re certainly not going to be able to be with Him where He is. Jesus prayed for that in John 17:24.
He asked the Father that those “whom You gave Me may be with where I am, that they may behold My glory.” If we’re ever going to impact the lost world, we’ve got to be with Jesus, and we’ll never be with Jesus if we’re not walking with Him through prayer.
Q: This year’s devotionals are based primarily on Joel 2. What led you to this passage, and why is it a fitting passage for the times we’re living in today?
A: I always pray that the Lord would lead me to a passage to work through. Joel 2 is a pivotal text on God’s people departing from Him in their sin, being judged by Him for their sin and Him offering them the opportunity to return to Him in godliness and holiness to avert the devastation that’s coming. In fact, it’s one of those great pictures in scripture of when God demonstrates His great mercy through a locust plague and brings a deeper level of judgment and chastisement because of His love for His people.
This is where we are as a nation, but more so, this is where we are as the church in America. We have departed from Him.
We have depended upon our own methodologies, our own strategies and our own ways, and we’ve taken our focus off of Him.
We are called to be holy as He is holy. Joel 2 reminds us of the reality that revival will only come God’s way, and His way involves rending our hearts before Him in repentance and relationship.
Q: How do you hope believers will be challenged and encouraged through these devotionals and the 30 days of prayer in October?
A: The beautiful message of Joel 2 is that there is hope.
From the very beginning, you see devastation from the locust plague, but what we see in chapter two is God saying, “I love you so much that I’m not going to let you continue in your sinful ways.”
In this text, we also see a northern army that’s coming to destroy them.
But God’s people have the opportunity to blow the trumpet and sound the alarm because He is a gracious and merciful God.
From the very beginning it’s a word of encouragement to His people that the verdict is not out yet. There’s still that opportunity for His people to return to Him and be restored.
Restoration can come only by the hand of the Lord. If God is against us, then nobody can be for us. But if God is for us, then nobody can be against us.
This passage allows us to see the mercy of God come as He hears the cries of His people when they turn from their wicked ways and He gives them another chance. There is great hope in that message.
I pray that God’s people will see that His character is truly being demonstrated through this text in that day, but also in this day. God is saying to us, “You are My people. I want you to come back to Me, and if you will return to Me, then I can restore the years that the locusts have eaten.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Visit prayfor30days.org for more information about the “Pray for 30 Days” emphasis. At the site, you may also register to receive daily devotions via email or sign up to receive daily prayer prompts via text messages. Resources are also available in Spanish at orepor30dia.org.)