By Julia Duin
Southern Baptists, America’s largest Protestant denomination, apparently believe that divine judgment is close at hand, which is why today (Sunday) is their National Day of Prayer.
“Join with churches around the country for a solemn assembly of prayer, fasting and repentance,” proclaims an open letter from a council of heads of SBC denominational organizations.
“We live in desperate times,” the letter reads in part. “Our lives, our families, our churches, our communities and our nation reflect the ruinous effects of our sinful ways. To some degree we all have pursued the things of the world and stand guilty of worshipping the created, not the Creator.”
Basically, the time of prayer is for Christians to clean up their own act plus pray for revival, maybe another Great Awakening to impact American culture.
The idea of an assembly was approved in June 2010, but it’s taken nearly 18 months to organize it and publish materials that explain the need for it, Baptist Press says. There’s even instructions on how to lead such a gathering in your own church.
More liturgical churches use Lent, which begins March 9 this year, as a time of corporate repentance but non-liturgical bodies such as the SBC have made January into the new Lent, with a big emphasis on fasting. One of the best-known leaders of the new fasting movement is the Rev. Jentezen Franklin, a Gainesville, Fla., author of the 2007 book “Fasting” who explains that spending January before God in a prayer-repentance-fasting mode will harvest divine blessings during the next 11 months. You can bone up on this philosophy through his fasting blog.
Maybe the Baptists could expand their vision. Considering the tumult occurring this weekend in Egypt and around the Middle East, sounds like the entire world could use some prayer.
Do you agree that America is overdue for a time of prayer and repentance?