Posted on : Wednesday September 1, 2010

By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Just in time for the upcoming elections, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission and the North American Mission Board has partnered together to urge Southern Baptists to participate in a “40/40 Prayer Vigil” for spiritual revival and national renewal.

The 40/40 Prayer Vigil consists of 40 days of prayer from Sept. 20 to Oct. 31, 2010, culminating in 40 hours of around the clock intercession during the last three days of the Vigil. The Vigil focuses first on personal spiritual revival. It then covers an expanding circle of prayer concerns, from the church to the nation.

“To change lives, we must first be changed. We must pray for and experience spiritual regeneration, then recognize and accept our responsibilities as Christians to be salt and light,” said Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “If we’re going to have faith in practice, we’ve got to get the faith right first.”

The ERLC recognizes that the battle for our nation’s soul is not just about voting booths.

“This is first and foremost a spiritual contest. A spiritual battle is being waged across our nation, and it must be met first of all with spiritual weapons,” say the vigil organizers. “God’s people must pray for a great outpouring of God’s Spirit on them, the churches and the nation. Then, when God has responded with His outpouring, His people will be empowered and motivated to do the hard work of restoring our nation’s moral foundation.”

Land added, “God has given us a promise that can change America if enough of God’s people heed the call to live out the Gospel in our time, shining like stars against the darkness of our culture, reflecting the sunlight of God’s Son. But that starts with our willingness to be humbled—to recognize that it’s God’s way or no way. It’s not God and country; it’s God alone. Only then can God use us—His people—for His purposes in our land.”

To assist in the prayer times, the ERLC offers a fully downloadable prayer guide, available in English and Spanish, at the 40/40 Prayer Vigil web site (www.4040prayer.com).

An individual, a small group, an entire church body, or an even larger group can use this prayer guide. Here’s how:

1) Decide if you want to use this as a personal guide to 40 days of prayer or ask others to join you.

2) Decide if you want to pray for forty days, forty hours, or a combination of the two. The Guide is designed to support any of these options.

•    You can pray once each day between Sept. 20 and Oct. 29, for 40 days of prayer.
•    You can pray for 40 hours, between 4:00 p.m. on Oct. 29 and 8:00 a.m. on Oct. 31.
•    You can pray for 40 days, between Sept. 20 and the morning of Oct. 29 and then pray for 40 hours between 4:00 p.m. on Oct. 29 and 8:00 a.m. on Oct. 31.

3) If you decide to make this a group effort, create a sign-up list and ask others to join you in the prayer time.

4) Register your commitment to pray at the 40/40 Prayer Vigil Web site to let others know that you are joining the national movement to seek God for spiritual revival and national renewal.

Organizers say anyone who shares the burden for revival among God’s people and for the future of America is welcome to join in this intensive period of prayer. There is no cost to participate.

Visit online at www.4040prayer.com to sign up, download the prayer guide, join a blog conversation about prayer and the need for revival and renewal, or stay notified of the latest developments in the Vigil.

If you would like to speak to BCM/D missionary, Freddy Parker, concerning this event, please call him at (443) 878-3999 or email [email protected] or contact his ministry assistant, Donna Shiflett, at (410) 290-5290 ext 226 or [email protected].