Fellowship with God
Warm greetings from the National Day of Prayer Task Force (NDP)! As we draw closer to this year’s National Day of Prayer on May 1, I want to take this opportunity to share the importance of your ongoing partnership in our efforts. Since 1952, when Congress established an annual day of prayer, millions of Americans have gathered each year in churches, synagogues, schools, parks, and other venues to intercede for our nation. Today we face extremely difficult times and daunting challenges, from economic turmoil to the threat of terrorism to moral confusion and decline. It behooves us, then, to once again honor the precedent established by Presidents and leaders throughout our history – that of proclaiming reliance on an Almighty God and calling citizens to come before Him on behalf of our nation.
All things are in our Heavenly Father’s hands, and we can come boldly before Him knowing that He has promised to hear the petitions of His children. In that spirit, our NDP Task Force has chosen One Voice, United in Prayer as our theme for 2014, based on Romans 15:6, “So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How encouraging to be reminded that all of us who have trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior have been given free and unhindered access to His presence. Not only are we invited to approach the very throne of God, but we have done nothing to deserve this extraordinary privilege. Our ability to interact personally with the Father is made possible only by virtue of His Son’s sacrifice on the cross.
Prior to Jesus’ sacrificial death, the veil in the temple separated the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence, the Holy of Holies, from man. This veil measured 60 feet high and four inches thick, representing the impassible chasm that once existed between the Almighty’s holiness and mankind’s depravity. Only the high priest could go behind the veil once a year to offer sacrifices for the atonement of man’s sins. Other than this annual occasion, access to God’s presence was guarded by the veil.
All this changed, however, when Christ paid the price for our sins. Matthew 27:50-51a powerfully describes this scene: “When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” With this incredible symbol, God offered us a glimpse into the full import of Christ’s death. No longer are we cut off from the Lord’s presence due to our sin; now, the forgiveness our Savior purchased for us has made it possible for us to enter the very presence of God and enjoy intimate fellowship with Him.
In keeping with this new relationship with our Heavenly Father, Hebrews 4:16 instructs, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The National Day of Prayer Task Force exists to help fulfill this exhortation. As we encourage and mobilize God’s people to approach the Almighty – not only for our personal concerns, but also for the needs of our nation, leaders and fellow citizens – we envision an outpouring of God’s Spirit across the land in response to the millions of petitions that are raised heavenward on America’s behalf.
I know you are besieged by numerous requests from worthy organizations seeking your backing. But in the coming days, please prayerfully consider placing the NDP Task Force on your list of priorities. And whatever you decide or are able to do, know that we value your friendship and commitment to pray for our nation. Abundant blessings to you!
Shirley Dobson, Chairman
Praying for Revival
Commissioner Tim Echols
Some years ago, Ken Wales produced a movie called “Amazing Grace” about the remarkable life of William Wilberforce. Wilberforce, a Member of Parliament who took office after the Revolutionary War, not only changed Britain, but impacted the world. For those of praying for revival in America, there is much to learn from his life.
Most historians remember Wilberforce as the man who, through passionate conviction and dogged determination, almost single-handedly achieved the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire in 1807. In fact, after his death in 1833, black leaders in New York City heralded him as the “Hercules of Abolition.” In 1858, Abraham Lincoln wrote that every schoolchild in America was familiar with William Wilberforce.
Today, those who are familiar with the story of Wilberforce know that his efforts and influence extended far beyond the political realm. Wilberforce set about to build a coalition of people and organizations that would alter the moral climate in Great Britain, the superpower of the day. After his conversion to Christianity, he made it his goal to make “goodness” fashionable among the leadership class of his day and he started with the Prime Minister and the King. “Fashionable” for Wilberforce would mean “trending,” popular, “top of fold,” or politically correct in our vernacular.
He and his followers were instrumental in creating a variety of charities with missions as diverse as educating the blind, printing and distributing Bibles, promoting animal welfare, treating ailing seaman, sponsoring vaccination efforts, easing the plight of the poor, and even helping those in debtors’ prisons. He saw great value in encouraging others to assist in any way they could. He realized that honing people’s energies and efforts towards others, instead of themselves, was valuable regardless of how they did it.
Maine biographer, Kevin Belmonte, combed through the works and letters of Wilberforce and observed several core principles underpinning his opposition to the slave trade and his efforts toward private philanthropy and moral renewal. One of these principles was the promotion of the happiness of others. Unlike Thomas Jefferson who penned the famous “pursuit of happiness” phrase in our founding documents, Wilberforce believed that when individual citizens promote the happiness of others they are most truly promoting or pursuing their own happiness. For most people, personal fulfillment is a prime motivator, but Wilberforce believed that contributing to the happiness of others was a greater calling. This is something we as Christians could encourage in our political leaders—at least those who cultivate our favor and endorsement. It would essentially be applying the golden rule in the sphere of politics.
Belmonte noted that these principles “produced tangible results and, ultimately, the rich legacy of moral renewal and philanthropy associated with Wilberforce's name." In other words, it worked, and it did so because doing “good” became a national pastime. Instead, we opt for “clash” and contention, taking our cue from political parties or radio talk shows—none of which spend any time talking about laying the groundwork for spiritual revival.
I love Wilberforce’s sense of individual responsibility. While he acknowledged that we must pursue excellence in the political sphere, he knew that many problems are better addressed by individuals and coalitions of people giving their time and private funds for the good of others rather than by government programs. In my hometown, I have seen Christians come together to form a health clinic that share the gospel with every patient along with providing them with a medical home. We need to get back to meeting practical needs through the church, and thinking outside the box like Wilberforce did would go a long way towards restoring our reputation in our communities.
As we approach the National Day of Prayer, let’s emulate Wilberforce by doing good, by encouraging others to do the same, and by praying for revival and the healing of our land.
- Tim Echols
Tim Echols is an elected official on the Georgia Public Service Commission. He founded the non-profit Family Resource Network and its program, TeenPact (see www.teenpact.com), and grew it into a national youth ministry working in 40 states. He is married to Windy and they have seven children and live in Athens. He has three degrees from the University of Georgia including a Masters in Non-Profit Organizations.
Are You One?
Valentine's Day has come and gone and I am sure you have noticed that it is set in place by our present culture to be all about ‘love’. Certainly, we pray for marriages and our other human relationships to be well cared for. Yet, there is a greater love story that transcends faces, places and wallets. Where can we go to learn more?
Have you ever felt there was a Bible scripture that you just didn’t understand or left you in a place of confusion? Maybe it even seemed to contradict other verses or concepts clearly stated in other passages.
Some years ago during Sunday worship, my church was meeting at the local baseball park for our annual ‘church out of church’ community outreach. Pastor Eric was speaking from the gospel of John, a key book of the New Testament. Yes, he went right to that passage that is very well known, often quoted, but consistently left me with a question in my mind. Okay, you might be thinking John 3:16, the most memorized verse in the Holy Bible. But my question arose from a different phrase used not merely once, but five times in the book of John. Clearly a point is being strongly made with the frequent repetitions.
John, the author himself is speaking, and says in these five places:
- John 13:23 “One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at the table close to Jesus,”…
- John 19:26 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother…”
- John 20:2 “So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them,”…
- John 21:7 “That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter; ‘It is the Lord!’”
- John 21:20 “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at the table close to him…”
My question was short and simple to God, “Isn’t this kind of arrogant of John, perhaps selfish?” He gets to be the one loved: what about the rest of us?
God is impressing me again with how foundational it is to digest and apply this. I am reminded from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NIV
There is no mistake - John, is the disciple whom Jesus loved. Yet the precise correction God impressed on me that day was, “No Lisa, my disciple John was not being arrogant. He described himself in the highest way he possibly could. That Jesus, my Son, loved him.” There is no clearer, no greater way to share about oneself than the fact that Jesus loves us. The gracious re-direction continued, “Wouldn’t it be best for you to think of yourself this way too?”
WOW, I am Lisa, the disciple whom Jesus loves. You are one too: the disciple whom Jesus loves! Even as I write this, I want to hesitate, that I may be taking some of His love from another. But once again, in His loving instruction, God reminds me from that most quoted verse John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” So, who is the world? You of course!
His love is not limited to John, or me or you, but abides in abundance for the whole world; past, present, and future lives. Today close your eyes and open your mind to describe yourself that you are His beloved. Wake up tomorrow with His description of you on your mind; the one He loves. Receive His love and respond to it by simply loving Him back.
Rejoice in this great love story! Almighty God, in His unspeakable majesty, is in love with you, His creation. Really! And out of that love, He longs to connect with you and I - one on one - all the time! This is a truly astounding revelation of Himself, and speaks volumes about His incomparable love.
Prayer is the way we have relationship with the One who loves our souls: listening, speaking, learning. Prayer helps us receive His love and express our love to Him in return. Remember, you are the one He loves!
- Lisa Crump, Director of Prayer Mobilization
Psalm 34:3 O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. NASB
One of the many things I love about prayer is that it has a special way of uniting the followers of Christ. Prayer draws us together even when our traditions, denominations, preferences, or personalities might not have much in common. Prayer is a common thread that the Spirit sews throughout the body of Christ to repair the torn and tattered places that cause separation among us. One of my most favorite type of prayer gatherings are “Concerts of Prayer.” Concerts of Prayer, (COP) can follow many patterns and paths, there is not one particular script to follow, but it facilitates a connected gathering to magnify the Lord together.
There are basically three connecting points that come together during a Concert of Prayer; we connect with God, we connect with the family of God, and we connect with God’s Kingdom. Every concert is different, but they are usually comprised of worship, praise, songs, Scripture, prayer, testimonies.
God is the unifying “Conductor” of these concerts, He instructs the hearts of those who have come to praise Him; therefore, silence also plays an important role in the concert. He alone, can take the noise of many mouths and unite it to sound like one voice, sweet and strong. Just as an orchestra or choir is hushed and all eyes and ears are attuned to the conductor; a concert of prayer should begin with a quieting of the mind. This is a time to shut out the rest of the world; our scattered thoughts, and weary bodies, in order to totally turn our attention towards the throne of God. God tunes the thoughts of His intercessors and brings harmony to our hearts when we silence our agendas and anxieties to humbly ask Him to align our lives with His Kingdom purposes.
Once the “choir” is in tune, the concert of praise can begin. Without this crucial first step we may be prone to hit some “sour notes.” Sour notes come in many forms; pride, offense, complaining, personal preferences, and even traditions can pull us out of tune if we place them above Truth. Concerts of Prayer bring us into a time of unity, a time of awe, a time of renewal, a time of peace, comfort and so much more. Of course we practice prayer every day; we study God’s Word, seek His ways, enter His gates with thanks and sing His praise. The practice of prayer is as essential to our lives as practicing is for a virtuoso, we never perfect it, but the more we pray, the more it becomes a part of who we are and how we live. Just like The National Day of Prayer events, Concerts of Prayer are a celebration and culmination of hundreds or even thousands of personal and corporate prayers. Our hearts are united with God and His Kingdom purposes as the Spirit prompts us to pray with a focus of “otherness;” for others who are lost, hurting, seeking, sick and weary. Our prayers unite us as we express our love for Jesus and for one another. As our hearts our moved, God’s hands are moved; like a conductor who guides the choir, and intercessors are drawn together in one voice that sings and brings, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.”
My prayer for you is that you could take some time to get in tune with God today.
- Kathy Branzell, Director
2014 Theme Video
One Voice, United in Prayer - the 2014 Theme Video for the National Day of Prayer, Thursday, May 1:
The Power of Family Prayer
“Dad, I’m so hungry. May I have some bread?”
Does that sound like a prayer to you? Or is it more like a child asking his father for what he needs? God invites us to come to Him as a little child. It’s as simple as saying, “Daddy, I need you.”
God holds the key to all your longings: provision, protection, belonging, compassion, forgiveness. And He wants to provide them for you . . . just ask Him. He strengthens and encourages you and your family through your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer—corporate family prayer—is the power source from which that faith derives its life. Families that pray together lay hold of the very power of God to cope with the challenges of daily living.
Below, you will find a guide (for download) that contains a bundle of suggestions and helpful resources. This guide, The Power of Family Prayer, is our free gift to you from the National Day of Prayer Task Force. It offers practical, motivating ideas and encouragement designed to help families unite and witness the power of God. You’ll see that prayer is really quite simple and that it is the single most important experience your family can share. In addition, activities and unforgettable testimonies of real people reveal just what can happen when we pray.
Prayer can be as dynamic and varied as your own imagination and creativity. Mealtime and bedtime are great starting points, but God has so much more in store for you as your family learns to talk to Him. Prayers can be spoken aloud, sung, staged, danced or even painted. The possibilities are endless as you turn your family’s heart toward the Lord. You’ll want to begin a journal of requests in order to refresh your memory and jump-start your words of thanksgiving.
God wants your family to shine like lights in a rapidly darkening and dysfunctional world. He desires each member to have his or her eyes open to realities that others refuse to see. He longs for you to walk with Christ through a larger, more wondrous world than some are capable of imagining. Take the roof off and establish a direct link between your home and the heart of the King of all creation.
No greater or more crucial task has been entrusted to us as parents than that of teaching our children to pray. Your children have already had practice when they’ve said, “Dad, may I have some bread?” So, let's get started. Download The Power of Family Prayer Guide now.
Warm greetings to you from the National Day of Prayer Task Force! It is my privilege to pass along this word of thanks for your ongoing friendship and involvement in the National Day of Prayer, as well as to provide you with a glimpse into the ways God is working as we urge Americans to more fervent intercession for our nation. The past few years have been a time of great challenge and turmoil here in the United States and around the world, but the Lord has clearly used this period of uncertainty to lead His people to a greater awareness of our dependence upon Him.
Although the 2014 National Day of Prayer observance is still months away, my staff and I have begun preparing once again to call our fellow citizens to a day of prayer on behalf of this great land. On May 1, people will gather throughout the United States, at points abroad, and at our annual national observance in Washington, D.C. to raise their hearts and voices in a time of worship, repentance and petition. We are enthusiastic about the theme we’ve chosen for this year, One Voice, United in Prayer. It is inspired by the exhortation found in Romans 15:6: “So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I believe that there has never been a time when this particular passage of Scripture has been more relevant!
NEW RESOURCES FOR 2014
It has become customary each year for us to offer new items geared toward enhancing an understanding of the importance of prayer and inspiring Americans to make it a priority to lift our nation and its leaders before the Lord each day. Toward that end, the following resources are now available through the National Day of Prayer Task Force:
- 2014 Complete Event Kit. We know times are tight so we have put together a complete kit that will help you host a large or small event on any budget. This kit includes, posters, prayer guides, bookmarks, wristbands, stickers, giveaways and more.
- Dual-Disc Planning Kit. In this digital world, this is a great resource, just in time for 2014. The DVD has our new Theme video, as well as our Pray for America video and the brand new Legacy of Prayer video featuring many special guests including Billy and Franklin Graham. The CD-Rom has all our Theme Resources in reproducible, customizable formats along with your new planning guides, sample events, sermon notes, presentations, curriculum, media talking points and more.
We, here at NDP headquarters, are amazed and filled with deep gratitude to see God’s hand of blessing upon our work. And we have every reason to believe that another exciting year is in store for all of us who labor in prayer for our nation! However, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that our past and future success has been in great part due to your partnership. We are honored that you have chosen to stand with us, and I covet your petitions on our behalf as we go forward with preparation for next year’s events. Also, may I ask you to prayerfully consider whether or not the Lord would have you give a financial gift at this time to undergird our Task Force’s efforts? At this crucial crossroads in our country’s history, Americans need to be in prayer, and every gift we receive goes a long way toward bolstering this message and our mission. Much is at stake regarding sanctity of life issues, traditional marriage and the ultimate moral course of our culture. Through the intercession, love and support of those who believe in our cause, we can make a difference! Thanks for allowing us to count on you.
In the coming months, I trust that the Lord will strengthen each of us and that millions of our fellow citizens will acknowledge His sovereign Hand upon the United States. May God’s abundant grace and peace be with you and your loved ones in the days ahead!
Shirley Dobson, Chairman
Taking a Stand
As we prepare for the 63rd annual National Day of Prayer on May 1, 2014, let us take a moment to pause and reflect on what God has done and continues to do across our nation. The 62nd annual National Day of Prayer was perhaps the greatest mobilization of the church in America since the Jesus Movement or the Fulton Street Revival of 1857. In Washington D.C., the National Observance launched a wave of prayer that that spread to over 42,000 unique gatherings from coast to coast and a message of revival and personal commitment was delivered passionately. Jeremiah 1:9 and Isaiah 51:16 says that the Lord will put His words to the mouth of those He has called to speak truth into this culture of moral relativism and indeed, He did just that. Not one but four keynote speakers at events across Capital Hill spoke boldly of sacrifice that was needed, starting in their own lives, to take a stand for what they believed. They found themselves at a crossroads where their action was to be symbolic of the level of their faith. It meant personal sacrifice for the cause of Christ and they did so without looking back or wavering. Their stories will be forever shared as a testament to personal transformation and the expectation that God has for each of us. Keep reading and I will summarize them for you to the best of my ability. Finding the words to properly express the hearts of these men will be challenging, but I trust you will understand as I attempt to capture the essence of the underlining theme.
In his essay, “Christian Behavior,” C.S. Lewis writes, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”3 The sacrifice of the temporal for the eternal is what separates the wheat from the chaff (Matthew 3). There is no room for lukewarm believers in God’s kingdom. As Revelation 3:16 states, “Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (nasb).
God wants our very best – He wants our all. If we do not stand up for truth, who will? If you do not hold the line, who will? In his book, Crazy Love, Francis Chan illustrates what this means:
When I was in high school, I seriously considered joining the Marines; this was when they first came out with the commercials for “the few, the proud, the Marines.” But you know what? I didn’t bother to ask if they would modify the rules for me so I could run less, and maybe also do fewer push-ups. That would’ve been pointless and stupid, and I knew it. Everyone knows that if you sign up for the Marines, you have to do whatever they tell you. They own you. Somehow this realization does not cross over to our thinking about the Christian life. Jesus didn’t say that if you wanted to follow Him you could do it in a lukewarm manner. He said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”
Either you’re going to stand boldly for the Lord or you’re not. Christ was confronted with people who were too comfortable with their lives, and He challenged them. He told a son to leave his family and follow Him (Matt 8:21–22). He told a wealthy man that to follow Him would mean total sacrifice, stressing that even the Son of Man didn’t have a pillow to lay His head upon (Matt 8:18–20). He told another that he should sell all that he had and give to the poor (Matt 19:16–30). In each case, these eager men were cut to their heart because they wanted to be good but not great. They weren’t willing to go all the way. But Jesus promises a reward for full commitment: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matt 19:29–30). He is not asking us to ditch our families in this statement. Rather, he is challenging us to look inward to truly examine and evaluate our priorities. Is there something that we hold in higher regard or value than our love for God? What you find in your heart may hurt a little when you consider the true cost of following Christ.
It truly seems that the world is restless and only His people, in humble petition for revival will make a difference. Indeed, as a pastor, I am witnessing a vast departure from the spiritual starvation that has left people hungering for the rich, deep truth of the Scripture – a return to the ideas of what it means to take up the cross and follow Him. Resonating with the powerful words of Francis Chan and David Platt, there is a transformation in the culture with masses stepping out of the lukewarm waters of diluted, self-help Christianity into a reverent return to solemn assembly and sacrificial devotion to the King of Kings. The revelation of our own depravity from years of lip-service has finally brought to light the words of Isaiah 29:13 and Matthew 15:8 that we have come to him with honoring lips but our heart has been far from Him. There is no more room for secular Christianity. As E. M. Bounds stated in his powerful book The Weapon of Prayer,
A breed of Christian is greatly needed who will seek tirelessly after God, who will give Him no rest, day and night, until He hearken to their cry. The times demand praying men and women who are all athirst for God’s glory, who are broad and unselfish in their desires, quenchless for God, who seek Him late and early, and who will give themselves no rest until the whole earth be filled with His glory.
To me the great cultural chasm is growing wider between those who claim their devotion to Christ and those who are choosing the path of the world. It is time for men and women to decide to whom they will give their allegiance and indeed the time grows short. The hour of decision is upon us as a society and it is one of eternal consequence. When the heat turns up in this society—and it most certainly will—are you going to be willing to walk into the furnace for your faith or step into the lion’s den? Will you be willing to give it all for Him? The Holy Spirit will give you strength when that moment comes (Acts 7:54–60), but you must take the first step. I tell people to start getting used to the lion’s breath when they take a stand for the Lord because the enemy is a roaring lion according to the Scriptures (1 Peter 5:8). But, take heart for we face a defeated enemy so let him roar all he wants to. After a while his growl will weaken and you will no longer be intimidated by a losing foe. Adrian Rogers said, “Satan’s real war is not with you … it is with God. Evil persons have always known that if they cannot harm someone directly, harm someone that they love and you’ve hurt them. Satan’s war is with God, but he has set his attack on you because God has set His affection on you.”Satan wants you in a constant state of fear because he wants you to begin to doubt God’s provision, God’s promises, and God’s love for you.
So, here is the black and white truth. You have now read content that leaves you with a decision to make and nothing is coincidental. You have now invested time into reading the words aligned before you. They will either convict your soul and reshape your prayer life, the way you spend your resources, the way you vote, the way you prioritize and the way you live, especially in bold declaration of truth. Or, you will tune them out and go about the busyness of your daily existence. You may suddenly feel pressed, even guilty, by the overwhelming feeling that God has burdened you with information that presents a seemingly daunting assignment that forces you to make immediate changes…and you weren’t ready for that. Well, let me paint a picture for you of the kind of warrior God uses in His army. At the 2013 National Observance, the following men stood up before crowds of people and took a stand for their faith – putting their action where their faith was.
Let’s begin with Craig Dance. Craig is the President of Champion Coach, a premier athlete transportation company. They specialize in moving professional and collegiate teams to their destinations. Name the team and chances are they have the contract. Well, Mr. Dance was given a lucrative contract to purchase, equip and wrap large tour buses to create a mobile studio for CBS Sports. It was a highlight for his company. However, with that contract, another opportunity came and it was to be the sole transportation provider for all of CBS Television. That meant his buses, utilized by the network, would be fully wrapped and outfitted for the network promotion and use. The president of CBS knew of Craig’s faith and days before it was Craig who was interviewed in the paper as being an owner of a Christian company with moral values. Well, Craig was convicted that he may be tested in this bold proclamation and indeed he was. CBS Television, despite a back and forth negotiation demanded that Champion Coach buses be wrapped with the fall lineup of shows, which included programming that was directly used for propaganda to promote alternative lifestyles to what he believed. But, Craig held steadfast knowing that it would mean he would lose the contract if he didn’t allow the wrap. He made several recommendations, they were denied and CBS pulled the contract. With it, however, went the CBS Sports contract as well. That meant Craig and his company were to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over his moral conviction. He didn’t hesitate to stand his ground and lost both contracts. It looked like the company would have to park several buses and start scaling back. Craig continued to pray and God brought more business than the company could handle and truly, it was a Deuteronomy 28 revelation before their very eyes. But, Craig testifies that he had to take a stand despite the fear of losing his business. God blessed as a result.
Next it was Russell Branzell who took the stage. Russ is the President and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. He has a distinguished resume and includes his time as CEO of one of the largest Medical Groups in the United States. It was Russ who drove the chisel further into the crusted shell of our hearts by defining the addiction most men face… the drive for power. He had to confront the very hunger that most leaders crave for influence, respect, control, possessions and yes, power itself. It was this hidden root within most entrepreneurs that he recognized to be the source of his broken family life. He transparently opened his heart to us all about his long hours, personal commitment to success and the drive that pushed God into the to do list of good intentions and not into the category of personal relationship. He was so convicted by the realization of truth and God’s expectations of him that he sold his possessions, streamlined, prioritized time with God and family and as a result, changed careers, giving up the prestige, income and status that he was subconsciously driven by. Those things were his idols and if we are honest with ourselves, many of ours as well. Just as God withheld blessing to His people because of the hidden sin of Achan, when they went to take Ai (see Joshua 6-7), God revealed to Russ the very thing that was preventing him from being complete in Him and money was not the blessing he craved. It was the blessing of a Holy Father saying, “well done my good and faithful servant.” Well done, my son. Russ now enjoys a healthy family life, a restored marriage, a renewal of his personal health and satisfaction with his life that is in alignment to God’s will.
That evening, Steve Green, President of Hobby Lobby (son of David Green, CEO and Founder), stood boldly for his faith expressing that his companies would not compromise on Biblical directives with regard to life. They are in the midst of a heated discussion with officials over the mandate to businesses to provide contraceptives, which goes against their pro-life position. He said the result could cost them more than one million dollars each and every day, but there “is no price tag on life” as Steve Green boldly professed on a prayer call that evening. As the Charlotte Observer reported, Hobby Lobby maintains that some birth control products, such as the morning-after pill, are equivalent to abortion. The company has sued the government on religious freedom grounds. Hobby Lobby still potentially faces millions in fines for not following the mandate. With 13,000 employees and a proposed fine of $100 per employee per day, that would equate to $1.3 million in daily fines.
“I could never have imagined we’d be where we are,” Green said. Founded and privately held by the Green family, Hobby Lobby is committed to operate according to biblical, Christian principles. Although Green said he couldn’t discuss the lawsuit, he said he expects a long slog through the court system. “I just say there’s going to be an extensive court discussion and battle,” he said in response to an audience question. “In the meantime, all I know to ask for is prayers.” Our prayers continue to be with him and the companies under his leadership as they take a stand in the gap for all businesses, large and small, as they face mounting pressures to compromise their moral and faith-based convictions.
Finally, in the aftermath of a heart-felt message from Pastor Greg Laurie, Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer calling for revival across the land, it was Rear Admiral William D. Lee, who serves as the Deputy of Operations Policy and Capabilities for the U.S. Coast Guard, who, on stage, made a potentially career altering declaration. William Lee stood at the microphone and said that he had 10 minutes of carefully prepared remarks ready but decided to “speak from the heart” instead. He told the story of so many servicemen searching for reasons to live, and talked about one 24-year-old who had tried to commit suicide and failed. Despite the protocol, Lee said he felt strongly that he should give the soldier a Bible. “The lawyers tell me that if I do that, I’m crossing the line,” he told the crowd. “I’m so glad I’ve crossed that line so many times.” To a standing ovation, Admiral Lee promised not to back down from “my right under the Constitution to tell a young man that there is hope.” He went on to speak of the need for service men and women to stand boldly for faith, “as one general so aptly put it – they expect us to check our religion in at the door – don’t bring that here,” Rear Admiral William Lee told the captive audience. “Leaders like myself are feeling the constraints of rules and regulations and guidance issued by lawyers that put us in a tighter and tighter box regarding our constitutional right to express our religious faith.” He went on to convey that a battle in the courts was fast approaching and we needed to be in prayer. “Your armed forces, the sons and daughters of the men and women like you,” he said, “are being told to hide that light under a basket…Pray that we will be able to weather the storm that I am almost certain will come – that we will not be required to put aside our Constitutional rights,” he said. Right before our eyes, a man was putting his reputation and career on the line for his faith and it was five, yes five standing ovations that continued to reinforce to him that we would stand with him through thick and thin as he endures to fight the good fight on the front lines.
The messages were convicting but we must pray that the transforming spirit of God will go forward and lives be changed as a result of obedience by these men of deep, personal faith. If you or anyone you know would like to hear these messages now, then follow the links below to listen and share:
1) Men’s Prayer Gathering at the Family Research Building (featuring Craig Dance and Russell Branzell)
2) National Observance (featuring Greg Laurie and Rear Admiral William D. Lee)
- John Bornschein, Vice Chairman
Collegiate Day of Prayer
On February 27, thousands of students, parents and churches will unite in prayer, across America, on campuses from coast-to-coast to pray. Join with us!
The Scope of Our Prayers
When we pray we are sowing seeds of faith into the Kingdom of God. Our prayers today are literally adding to the prayers of all those who have gone before us. Yes, our prayers are contributing to a larger Kingdom story that has been unfolding throughout the generations. Psalms 9:12 says, "He does not forget the cry of the humble." Therefore, we can be assured that all these years of prayer will not be ignored or forgotten. The God who inspires us to pray is faithful to answer and awaken His Church. So, we must continue to pray for another student awakening. Yet, more than that - We must pray for our whole higher education system, along with all of it's professors and faculties to be awakened and transformed by the presence of Christ. We must stand together and pray as a united and multi-generational Church, until we see the Kingdom of Christ awakened and established in this generation.
The Purpose of This Prayer Outline
The following prayer points are designed to give you a general road map to follow throughout the course of a corporate prayer meeting. These three different themes or stages of prayer are meant to help you manage the direction and flow of your prayer meeting as you move from one prayer request to another. These points are not intended to be an exhaustive list of everything that you might need to pray concerning your campus. We understand that each college campus is different and that you will need to add to the prayer outline to better address those specific needs. The purpose of the outline is simply to provide a biblical and Christ centered approach to praying for a student awakening that will serve and respect the whole evangelical community. Follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit and use the outline accordingly.
Focus First & Foremost on Jesus Christ
Most importantly, start your prayer meeting by reflecting on the person of Christ with a significant time of worship and adoration. This will build corporate unity and put you in the right frame of mind to effectively pray together. An undivided focus on Jesus Christ is the best way to start and sustain a meaningful and rewarding prayer meeting. May God richly bless you in all your prayer efforts for this generation!
A Three Phase Approach to Praying for a Student Awakening:
1) Pray for an Open Heaven — A Posture of Worship & Adoration
- Pray for the fullness of the power and presence of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for an accurate view of the glory and majesty of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for a renewed passion and an intimate affection for Jesus Christ.
2) Pray for an Open Heart — A Posture of Humility & Submission
- Pray for a response of faith, humility and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for a turning away from anything that would hinder a strong relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Pray for a revelation of the unfailing love, comfort and adoption of the Father through faith in Jesus Christ.
3) Pray for an Open Hand — A Posture of Joyful & Sacrificial Giving
- Pray for students to joyfully share the hope of Christ's love through generous acts of compassion and evangelism.
- Pray for students to defend the defenseless and care for the orphans and the widows.
- Pray for students to finish the remaining task of evangelizing every tongue, tribe and nation in this generation for the glory and pleasure of Jesus Christ.
One Voice, United in Prayer
There seems to be escalating chaos and crisis day by day. I know you must see it too. So, what can we do about it? Well, one thing is for sure. We must increase our seeking the LORD for help to stop the shootings, heal the sick, bestow wisdom in our government, and provide finances and counsel for our families. Wouldn’t it be more powerful to come to Him together - be a united voice to His throne?
Did you know there is a national network of volunteers who coordinate prayer events on the National Day of Prayer, the First Thursday every May? Every state has a leader who helps these volunteers by praying with them, giving advice and ideas so that more prayer is mobilized in cities, counties and throughout our nation. Some prayer walk an area, some prayer drive with others, while others have a prayer breakfast or noon prayer time at city hall or at school flagpoles. The LORD is creative and certainly our advocate for prayer, so the ways and places to pray abound.
Will you help us pray for America where you live? You are needed! As Director of Prayer Mobilization, I thank God for the increase I have seen in prayer through my ten years with National Day of Prayer Task Force. Yet, there are gaps in our country where prayer does not abound on NDP. May 1 is the National Day of Prayer, the 63rd annual observance. Why not step forward? You will have this network to help you and even better, God’s favor as He loves prayer!
In December, the National Area Leaders of NDP and I gathered in Kansas City to pray over this national network. While there, the NDP Task Force was recognized with the Issachar Award from Bott Radio Network. The plaque highlights the Scriptures of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and I Chronicles 12:32 with the inscription: Because they understood the times and Revival is preceded by prayer.
President, Rich Bott, stated: “God bless you for the great work being done with the National Day of Prayer. We were blessed to have your team visit us and pray for Bott Radio Network and our listeners. These are critical days, and we are trusting God for another Great Awakening. We certainly need it. Thank you for the opportunity we have to partner with you in ministry.”
You could be part of this great mission too and help us usher in revival through prayer. Don’t live with wonder of what to do with all that concerns you. Start today and be part of a national effort to transform lives through intercession and prayer. Go to nationaldayofprayer.org and visit the ‘volunteer’ tab for information. You can be an answer to my own prayers by clicking ‘Step 3’ to fill out the application!
You might be thinking, why pray on just one Thursday a year? NDP does mobilize all year, while we seek to maximize the annual day nationwide. Actually every day there is a 10:45 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. prayer call (based on ET; adjust to your time zone). So, I invite you to join us anytime, even on holidays: 712-432-0075, passcode: 4961322#.
With your help, we can better fulfill our mission of 2014, One Voice, United in Prayer based on Romans 15:6, "With one mind and one voice - glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." So, I challenge you to get involved, ‘volunteer’ and become ‘one’ in prayer this year with thousands of others! Together, we become One Voice before our Lord!
- Lisa Crump, Director of Prayer Mobilization