For the ninth 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. Individuals are also invited to participate in a special “Praying on the Mountain” prayer emphasis on Nov. 1.
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, “God’s Great Hope.”
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 and Fred Lunsford, a 95-year-old retired pastor, director of missions and World War II hero from western North Carolina, recently took some time to answer some questions related to prayer, spiritual awakening and this year’s prayer emphasis. Their responses are below.
Q: Hope is something many are desperate for today, yet it seems to be in low supply. What is the significance of ‘God’s Great Hope’ in our current world?
A (CS): We are living in significant days according to God’s “kairos” or opportune time. Throughout history, God has always used seasons of darkness, crises and unrest as a way of getting people’s attention and reorienting them unto Himself. The Apostle Paul’s prayer in Romans 15:13 shows his belief that uncertain times can produce fertile soil for God to reveal His great hope in Jesus to believers and unbelievers alike, “Now may the God of hope fill you with peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (NKJV). Real and living hope begins with God and can only be found in the person and work of the resurrected Christ (1 Peter 1:3).
Q: In light of this, why do you think there is such a need for revival and spiritual awakening in America?
A (CS): Because of God’s scriptural mandate to return to and seek the Lord in passages like 2 Chronicles 7:13-14. No one can deny that there is a real sin problem in the American church and in the nation as a whole. In essence, we have departed from God in sin and for decades have ignored His call to return to Him in genuine repentance and holiness. The waning of the vital spiritual life of Christ in the church and continued growth of moral and spiritual darkness across America point to the reality that God is judging His people and America as a whole. The good news is that God often does some of His greatest work of reviving His church and awakening the lost during times of great spiritual darkness in response to the desperate cries of His people.
Q: Why do you have such a burden to call people to pray for revival and spiritual awakening?
A (FL): Some time ago, God let me know in no uncertain terms that He has extended my years to the age of 95 and beyond for a special reason. That reason is to pray for revival and spiritual awakening and to enlist as many people as I can to join me in praying for God to lavish upon us a movement of the Holy Spirit for spiritual awakening in America and the world. That’s what the “Praying on the Mountain” call to prayer is about. God wants His people to seek Him for spiritual awakening, and I must do what I can to enlist others to obey Him through prayer.
Q: How can participants prepare now for a committed, extended time of prayer?
A (CS): We must be sure that we are on praying ground as we intercede with others for God’s mercy through revival and spiritual awakening. Revival, therefore, needs to start with me. This involves seeking the Lord toward personal consecration through genuine repentance, personal holiness and cleansing. David cried out in Psalm 51:1-4, “Have mercy upon me, O God … blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin … Against You, You only, have I sinned.” Personal holiness allows believers to unite in Spirit-led, one-accord prayer which unleashes God’s power in our world (Acts 4:31).
Q: What are some ways groups and churches can pray together in a time of social distancing?
A (FL): Throughout my 95 years and 70-plus years of ministry, I have tried to be flexible and sensitive to God’s leadership when leading people to gather in prayer. This January, when we planned the initial “Praying on the Mountain” prayer gathering on May 5, we had no idea the coronavirus would change our plans. But we went back to God, and He led us to challenge people to pray from their place of prayer at home. Besides praying individually or on phone and Zoom calls, churches can still gather in person to pray if they spread out in the sanctuary or use methods like prayerwalking, prayer groups and the concept of the “Solemn Assembly” type of prayer gatherings where people do not interact with others but gather at a location and get alone with God.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Join with North Carolina Baptists to pray for 30 days toward spiritual awakening during the month of October. Free daily prayer texts are available by texting the phrase “Pray30Days” to 313131. Visit prayfor30days.org or praync.org to download the “God’s Great Hope” devotional prayer guide and sign up for daily devotionals by email.)