Posted on : Thursday August 24, 2017

by David Roach

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) — Immediate past Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd has been appointed president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, the organization announced Aug. 22.

Floyd, who will continue to serve as pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, wrote in a blog post announcing his latest ministry assignment, “In this desperate and urgent hour when turmoil and division is evident in America and security threats are being made against America, it is imperative that we do all we can right now to mobilize unified public prayer for America.

“America’s greatest need today is to experience the next Great Spiritual Awakening,” Floyd wrote. “We know that no great movement of God ever occurs that is not preceded by the extraordinary prayer of God’s people.”

As National Day of Prayer president, Floyd will oversee mobilization of individuals, churches, denominations and organizations to participate in ongoing prayer for America, culminating in the annual National Day of Prayer emphasis in May, according to a news release sent on behalf of Floyd.

Congress established National Day of Prayer in 1952, and a 1988 law designated the first Thursday in May as a national day of prayer. In 2017, some 2 million people participated in more than 30,000 events in all 50 states, the release stated.

The role of president is new for the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Previously, leadership came from the office of chairman, a role filled since May 2016 by Anne Graham Lotz, National Day of Prayer board chairman Dave Butts told Baptist Press in a statement.

With input from Lotz and others, the board developed the office of president. Though the board asked Lotz to continue serving through May 2018, she “felt like she had accomplished what the Lord called her to do” and “wanted to give Dr. Floyd the freedom to give direction to this powerful movement of prayer,” Butts said.

In the news release, Butts called Floyd “a leader with unique calling.”

“As we step into a new phase of carrying this mission and legacy,” Butts said, “I believe we couldn’t have found a man more passionate or dedicated to prayer and spiritual awakening than Ronnie Floyd. Throughout his life, he has demonstrated he is a leader with a unique calling to lead others to unify together to pray for our nation and the need of spiritual awakening. America is blessed to have him as the new president of the National Day of Prayer.”

A post on the National Day of Prayer Task Force’s website stated the Colorado-based ministry experienced “a period of transition” leading up to Floyd’s appointment and that he will “build on [the] legacy” of National Day of Prayer leaders like Vonette Bright, Shirley Dobson and Lotz.

Among Southern Baptists to release statements on Floyd’s appointment:

SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page said, “I’m very excited to hear about this announcement. Everyone who knows Ronnie Floyd knows his heart for prayer and spiritual awakening. We are so proud of him to be called to this new task. It is a good day for America, for evangelicals and for Southern Baptists! We are in desperate need of prayer and Ronnie Floyd is the obvious choice to lead this massive effort.”

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin said, “Ronnie Floyd is a dear friend and brother who is perfect for this assignment. He is known for his passion for personal prayer, and I know he will bring that same passion to this annual prayer event. This is good news!”

— Former SBC President Johnny Hunt said, “Ronnie Floyd is the obvious choice to lead this great ministry. In SBC life, Dr. Floyd leads us in prayer and spiritual awakening. This so excites my heart!”

As SBC president, Floyd led the convention to devote an entire session of its annual meeting in 2015 and again in 2016 to pray for revival and spiritual awakening in America. He also encouraged churches to devote an entire worship service to prayer on Sept. 11, 2016.

In his blog post, Floyd said his vision for National Day of Prayer includes “unified public prayer for America”; “a multi-church, multi-denominational, multi-ministry, multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual movement of prayer”; and engagement “with the digital world via relevant and robust channels.”

National Day of Prayer, Floyd wrote, “must become a movement of prayer for America” and “not just one day a year.”

“We are praying it will become a catalyst as a national rhythm for the next Great Spiritual Awakening in America,” Floyd wrote.

David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.