If you visit www.opendoorsusa.org and scroll down the page
of recent headlines, your heart will become heavy as you read report after
report of how Christians in countries all over the world are facing persecution
for their faith. Some believers are being denied the right to hold public
worship services or to pass out Bibles and Christian literature. Others are
being put in prison and some are paying the ultimate price — their very life —
because they claim the name of Jesus.
From natural disasters and wars to economic woes, the
headlines on our televisions and in our newspapers are filled these days with a
reality that is hard to face.
I shared in my last column that the North American Mission
Board reports that about 259 million people in the United
States and Canada
do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The International
Mission Board tells us that 3,726 people groups in the world are unengaged and
unreached, which means they are essentially void of any evangelical presence.
Right here in our state, 5.6 million people do not know
North Carolina Baptists, we don’t need to look far to find a
reason to pray. Our world, our nation, our state and our communities are in
desperate need of prayer.
Prayer is our only hope for seeing a change in this world,
and in our own lives and hearts. Through prayer, God unleashes His power.
Scripture teaches that the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is
at work in the lives of all who trust in Jesus. When God’s people pray and seek
their Heavenly Father’s face, His desires and His purposes, He promises to
The National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 5. Will you take
some time during this day to pray? Imagine the kind of revival we could see if
believers across this country truly committed to spending time on their knees
and on their face before God.
As wonderful as that would be, just think of the revival we
could see if believers committed to this focus on prayer every single day. I
fear some of us have forgotten that God has called us to a life of prayer. Our
lives should, as Romans 12:12 and Colossians 4:2 teach, reflect faithfulness to
prayer. As Paul encouraged the church at Philippi, we
must not be anxious for anything, but in all things through prayer, bring our
requests before God (Phil. 4:6).
The headlines may look grim. Yet, I am not discouraged, for
I know where our hope comes from — and so do you. Our hope rests in the Lord
Jesus Christ. May we come before Him in humble repentance and prayerfully plead
for our Father to make His glory known in our country and in the world.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble
themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then
will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14
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