As the interest in revival services among church members continues to decline, especially among younger members, so does the interest and awareness of the need for spiritual awakening.
During his address to messengers of the 182nd annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer, shared that the younger generation is not interested because many have never participated in genuine revival or observed a season of awakening in their church.
Genuine revival is desperately needed. In N.C., 5.6 million people do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, and 6.1 billion people around the world are spiritually lost.
In order for believers to experience revival and spiritual awakening Hollifield said they must return to God in prayer.
“The saints are spending too little time with the Savior through meaningful Bible study and personal intimate prayer, resulting in disobedience, weak faith and little compassion for fulfilling the Great Commission,” he said. “It is both grand and magnificent to establish goals and plans to reach the lost of our state and this world with the gospel, but Southern Baptists have no hope to see this become a reality unless we experience a return to personal holiness so that God can empower us to accomplish His will.”
BSC photo by K Brown
Milton Hollifield, BSC executive director-treasurer, kneels in prayer after his sermon on spiritual awakening.
Sometimes prosperity keeps people from praying, Hollifield said, as they think they no longer need God. People also get caught up in the busyness of life.
“The devil will keep us busy doing good things in order to keep us from doing the best,” Hollifield said.
Hollifield explained that the prayer life of Jesus is the model for all believers. Jesus was known to pray in certain places and to pray all night and early in the morning.
“If prayer was that important to Jesus, how much more important should it be to us?” Hollifield said. “God expects His children to pray.”
Hollifield said that not only does God expect His children to pray, God glorifies Himself through the prayers of His children as they call on His name and recognize His greatness and holiness. Through prayer God’s children acknowledge all the many different attributes of God, such as Creator, Prince of Peace, Bread of Life and Good Shepherd.
“If God does not seem as majestic to you as He was at earlier times, get alone with Him in the place of prayer. Praise Him for all that He is and reflect on your blessings,” Hollifield said.
“Ask God to make His presence known to you, and then linger in silence and you will begin to know His manifested presence.”
God blesses His children when they call on Him in prayer through provision of physical needs as well as spiritual needs. Hollifield cautioned N.C. Baptists not to focus their prayers solely on the physical and neglect the spiritual.
Hollifield asked N.C. Baptists to be honest before God and to confess sin, abandon pride and release anything God asks them to lay down before Him.
From Moses and Jacob to Martin Luther, Christianity’s history is marked with heroes of the faith who accomplished great things for God’s Kingdom because they sought the Father in prayer.
Prayer is so important because it is through prayer that “great spiritual battles are both fought and won,” Hollifield said. “Your time alone with God in prayer is where your love for God matures and your trust in Him grows. No Christian is greater than his or her prayer life.”
Hollifield concluded his message with a call for prayer among messengers. He challenged messengers to lead their congregations in the pursuit of holiness through prayer, and he charged the Convention to make prayer priority in the year to come.
For more stories from the annual meeting, visit here.