Archive for the 'Prayer' Category

America’s Fight for Independence Began with Prayer

The air that September morning of America’s First Continental Congress was fraught with anxiety and trepidation. The men who gathered had a monumental decision to make: will the colonies stand united and challenge British rule or will they disband and leave each to its own? Yet, they couldn’t even decide on who should lead prayer.

Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Quakers, Anabaptists and Congregationalists were all present at the assembly, and their differing traditions caused some to oppose the motion of opening the meeting in prayer. But after some consideration, a local minister from Philadelphia named Jacob Duché was found and summoned to pray.

I’ll leave it to John Adams, who was present at this historic meeting and wrote to his wife Abigail in detail about it, to tell the rest:

“Accordingly the next Morning [Rev. Jacob Duché] appeared with his Clerk… and read several Prayers, in the established Form; and then read the Collect for the seventh day of September, which was the Thirty fifth Psalm,” recounted Adams to his wife.

This psalm begins, “Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help! Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers! Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation!’”

These words pierced straight through the hearts of those present at the assembly, tearing down the fear and animosity that had permeated the beginning of the assembly. “I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning,” wrote Adams.

But the good Rev. Duché was not finished. To everyone’s surprise, he broke into an unexpected prayer:

“Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly,” he prayed. “Enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people.”

“I must confess, I never heard a better prayer, or one so well pronounced,” said Adams. “It has had an excellent Effect upon every Body here.”

All of this took place Sept. 7, 1774 — seven months before the famous “shot heard ‘round the world” at the Battle of Lexington and Concord officially inaugurated the Revolutionary War. No matter how much historians and political commentators might argue, our history cannot be rewritten: America’s fight for independence began with Scripture and with prayer, not with muzzles and gunpowder.

Yet, as undeniable as the influence of the Bible is in our traditions and values, America seems bent upon attacking the very faith that strengthened our Revolutionary War heroes. While our Founding Fathers turned to God in supplication for wisdom and truth, we’ve driven prayer out of our schools and torn down the Ten Commandments from our public buildings. Like an autoimmune disorder that cannot recognize friend from foe, we turn against ourselves when we deny the faith of our founders.

On this Independence Day, I’m praying for a spiritual awakening in America that will lead us back to God and to the values that have made our country great. And I’m praying we will remember American freedom is won not only on the battlefield but also on bended knees.

God Bless America!

*Story based on John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 September 1774  and the First Prayer of the Continental Congress, 1774.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the senior pastor of Cross Church and the immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Follow him on Twitter @ronniefloyd. Subscribe to Ronnie Floyd on Life and Leadership Today here.

This article was published on ChristianPost.com on July 4, 2017

United, Prevailing Prayer for Awakening in America

BlogPic2As the United States of America nears celebrating her 241st birthday this July 4, it should serve as a spiritual wake up call to every follower of Jesus Christ. Now is the time for the entire church of Jesus Christ in this nation to unite in prevailing prayer for spiritual awakening. There is no greater need in America.

There is no great movement of God that has ever occurred that does not begin with the extraordinary prayer of God’s people. The time is now for us to come together before God in clear agreement, visible union, and in extraordinary prayer for the next Great Awakening and for the world to be reached for Christ. This must be the united, prevailing prayer.

We Cannot Ignore Our History

Jonathan Edwards was a man who believed in the absolute sovereignty of God. As a catalyst for America’s first and second Great Awakenings, Edwards called upon God’s people to act. He believed God would listen to the promptings of His people. Edwards called for prayer and fasting, both in secret and with one another.

George Whitfield was used by God to shake America. His powerful preaching of the need to be born again was used by the Lord to bring thousands to Christ. God used both Whitfield and Edwards in a supernatural way in the mid-1700s. In the early 1800s, the second Great Awakening occurred, and God used men like Charles Grandison Finney, Timothy Dwight, and others who became instrumental preachers of the gospel.

Then in 1857-1858, Jeremiah Lanphier was a layman who had a burden to pray. Eventually, thousands were praying daily for a mighty move of God in the land, and our God shook America. In a two-year period, 1 million Americans came to Christ and another 1 million converted to Christ in Great Britain and Ireland. The church was revived and the fires of evangelism were burning brightly. Missions exploded with the Student Volunteer Movement, where 20,000 young people surrendered their lives to missions.

God used these great movements of God to further impact leaders like Charles Haddon Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, and William Booth. These men and others were shaking the world for Christ.

Sadly, it has been since the Jesus Movement of the 1960s and early 1970s since we have seen such a movement of God upon our land. Thousands were being saved as churches were exploding, and many were called into gospel ministry.

Interestingly, in each of these great movements of God, united, prevailing prayer was occurring.

We Must Prevail In United Prayer

It is time for churches to unite as the Church of Jesus Christ. If we cannot unite to pray in an ongoing way for God to bring spiritual awakening, we have far greater issues. It is time we stop ignoring our history, but learn from it; then, take action to pray for awakening in a compelling, united way.

James 5:16 (CSB) says, “The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” This is prevailing prayer. This is what the Church must learn to do together. Regardless of what we see with our human eyes, we must be faithful to cry out to God in our desperation, appealing to Him with all we have: God, we cry out to You with all we have and are: Give America a mighty spiritual awakening. Yes Lord, may You give us the third Great Spiritual Awakening in our nation’s history.

Let’s take these three actions beginning today:

  • Pray Extraordinarily: This means praying more now than you have been for spiritual awakening. Create ways to unite with other people, leaders, and churches in prevailing prayer for spiritual awakening in America.
  • Awakening Brings Evangelization: Billy Graham asked the question, Can Revival Come? He believed firmly that “An awakening can bring about evangelization of the world in our generation.”1 While denominations and churches try to fix their lack of genuine evangelism, they need to realize that a true spiritual awakening is the ultimate answer to this problem. While we must equip others and practice evangelism personally, we need to believe that God can do more in a moment than we can do in a lifetime. This is why we must prevail in united prayer for spiritual awakening.
  • Maximize Prayer and Minimize the Rest: As we maximize the need to unite in prevailing prayer for the next Great Awakening, we need to minimize the rest. This is not a call to dumb down politics or stop speaking to the issues in our world today; nor is it a call to make simple our uniting in prayer. It is a call to understand that only God is the One who can change the hearts of Americans from the inside out.

A Final Appeal

The church of America needs to unite humbly in prevailing prayer for spiritual awakening in America. As we come together in clear agreement, visible union, and extraordinary prayer for the next Great Awakening and for the world to be reached for Christ, we need to believe our God is able to do it!

I believe God can do it. I am trusting God to do it.  

Keep your perspective: Our greatest need is the next Great Spiritual Awakening in America.

Now is the Time to Lead,

Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church

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Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Cross Church, Immediate Past President of the Southern Baptist Convention, founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry, and host of the Ronnie Floyd on Life and Leadership Today podcast.

To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email gaylao@crosschurch.com.

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1 Graham, Billy. “Can Revival Come?” Sermon, Inauguration of Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Louisville, KY, October 14, 1993. http://equip.sbts.edu/article/can-revival-come/