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Prayer vigil for national renewal begins Sept. 20
Dwayne Hastings, Baptist Press
August 31, 2010
4 MIN READ TIME

Prayer vigil for national renewal begins Sept. 20

Prayer vigil for national renewal begins Sept. 20
Dwayne Hastings, Baptist Press
August 31, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There’s

no disputing that most Americans “believe” in God. Studies by the Pew Forum on

Religion & Public Life consistently reveal over two-thirds of Americans are

“absolutely certain” there is a God.

The problem, Richard Land says, is that people often live as though there is no

transcendent moral authority. In considering the state of the culture, Land

observes that “believing” in God apparently doesn’t equate to a person’s

wholesale adoption of God’s precepts into his or her life.

“Instead of influencing the culture, it appears on most fronts the culture is

influencing us. Too often, instead of being ‘salt’ and ‘light,’ we are being

salted and lit by the secular culture around us,” said Land, president of the

Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, focusing on a theme

he often raises when preaching.

“Our churches are in need of a truly spiritual revival, and our nation is in

need of a great movement of God’s Spirit,” Land said, noting that this need was

the impetus behind the development of the 40/40 Prayer Vigil for Spiritual

Revival and National Renewal, which debuted in 2008 in partnership with the

North American Mission Board.

“To change lives we must first be changed,” Land said. “We must pray for and

experience spiritual regeneration, then recognize and accept our

responsibilities as Christians to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in the culture,” he

said, referencing Matthew 5:13-16.

A great movement of the Holy Spirit will not happen without sustained prayer

from God’s people, Land added.

The 40/40 Prayer Vigil is designed for people to pray for 40 days, between

Sept. 20 and the morning of Oct. 29, and then pray for 40 hours between 4 p.m.

on Oct. 29 and 8 a.m. on Oct. 31.

A downloadable prayer guide and more

information is available at www.4040prayer.com.

The 40/40 prayer guide is

written so that it can be used by an individual, a small group or the focus of

an entire church body.

The vigil focuses on personal and church revival and national renewal, Land

said, noting participants are encouraged to heed the truths of 1 Timothy 2 and

pray for those in positions of authority in the government.

A pitched spiritual battle rages across the country and around the world, Land

said.

“Such warfare must be met first of all with spiritual weapons,” he said. “We

must pray for a great outpouring of God’s Spirit on our homes, our churches and

ourselves that our moral foundation might be recovered.”

Additional tools to encourage participation in the prayer vigil, including an

automatic e-mail delivery of each day’s prayer outline, are expected to come

online soon, Land said. The 40/40 website also includes a prayer guide

translated into Spanish.

The Scriptures are at the heart of this call to prayer, Land said, noting that

with each day’s prayer points there is a listing of key Bible verses.

“God draws close to those who call out to Him,” Land said, paraphrasing Psalm

145:18.

“It is God’s way or no way. And right now our nation and many of our families

are heading in every way but after God,” Land said.

“When our perspective is right, when we are on our knees, when we are obedient,

God will use us — His people — for His purposes in our families, our churches

and our land,” he said, adding, “That is my prayer for the 40/40 Prayer

Vigil–that believers will be renewed and those who don’t know Christ will find

him. Our country will never be the same when that happens.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Hastings is a vice president of the Southern Baptist

Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.)