ABSC Prayer Task Force Adopts National Day of Prayer Emphasis
Clearly the need for prayer grows with each passing day – COVID-19, tornadoes and flooding, and upcoming national elections just to start the list. The National Day of Prayer (NDOP) - Thursday May 7, 2020 – is an incredible opportunity for Arkansas Baptists to lead our state and nation in calling on the Lord. The Prayer Task Force of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) is calling on Arkansas Baptists to join together in an emphasis, Pray714, beginning May 1, 2020 and culminating in your church’s NDOP activities on May 7, 2020.
Pray714 is a simple yet clear method for coordinating praying efforts during the entire week leading up to the National Day of Prayer itself. The Prayer Task Force has worked for over five years to develop practical ways for pastors and church prayer ministry leaders to engage their churches in praying specifically for revival and spiritual awakening.
Recently, the Task Force has placed an emphasis on engaging churches with the NDOP. The Task Force has worked to help churches increase their prayer efforts by developing a “rhythm” of prayer in their annual church calendar. They have modeled a “rhythm” with their major emphases each year. The Pastors’ Prayer Gathering in August engages pastoral leadership in actual prayer; the annual Workshop in January equips both pastoral and lay leaders in principles and practical methodologies of prayer; and, the NDOP in May provides a place for the leaders to engage the entire church in a prayer emphasis.
This year’s NDOP emphasis was developed by one of the Task Force leaders, Pastor Bill Elliff of Summit Church, along with his church staff. The plan, adopted by the Task Force in a Zoom meeting on April 16, 2020, uses a daily prayer focus for each day based on seven truths taken from 2 Chronicles 7:14. Pray714 asks each person to commit in two ways: 1) commit to pray at 7:14 am and 7:14 pm using each day’s focus and 2) to fast from at least one meal per day as part of the on-going commitment.
The plan is easy to teach and follow with any group of leaders or a church family. Simplicity was an important feature of this plan given the current situation for churches during the COVID-19 crisis. Simplicity does not; however, mean a loss of impact for the plan when it creates a platform for hundreds of ABSC churches to pray in concern for a move of God.
The ABSC Prayer Task Force includes the following leaders: Manley Beasley, Jr., Diane Blackwood, Bill Elliff, Don Moore, Roderick Rogers, Ken Shaddox, Lowell Snow, Larry White, Dennis Wilkins, Warren Gasaway, and Jimmie Sheffield.
Here is a concise version of the Pray714 plan. More information will be available on the ABSC website at ABSC.org/prayer.
In light of the urgent needs in our nation, we are asking you to join us in 7 Days of Fasting and Prayer, May 1-7. We will end the fast the night of the National Day of Prayer, uniting with millions of people across the nation in prayer.
Our prayer focus for this fast will be 2 Chronicles 7:13-15. Notice there are four things God tells us we must do and three things that God promises He will do. These seven things will guide our prayers each day.
13 “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,
14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
15 “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.
Please fast at least one meal a day (some may want to fast completely) and set your phone alarm to pray at 7:14 AM and 7:14 PM each day. Gather your family together for this prayer nightly.
OUR DAILY FASTING AND PRAYER FOCUS
If my will people who are called by my name will…
DAY 1: “Humble themselves”
Humility is admitting our sin and acknowledging our needs. We come individually and collectively today to see our sins and turn from our pride. Ask God to break us of our pride across our nation.
DAY 2: “pray”
Today, ask the Lord to blanket our nation with a spirit of prayer. Pray that God will empower and bless every movement of prayer that is happening and manifest Himself greatly on the National Day of Prayer, Thursday, May 7. Pray that our national leaders all the way to our students and children will join in prayer for our land.
DAY 3: “seek My face”
We often seek God’s hand, wanting things from Him for ourselves. Spend the day seeking God’s face. Look at Him and worship Him today. Ask Him to turn His face toward our land with favor. Pray the prayer of Numbers 6:24-26:
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace.
DAY 4: “turn from their wicked ways”
Our nation is filled with sins that grieve a holy God. Pray for a spirit of repentance across the church and the nation … that we will not merely ACKNOWLEDGE our sins but TURN from our sins.
Our individual sins, joined together, form our national sins. Ask God what sin(s) He desires you to release. What will you personally turn from today?
Pray particularly over the sin of ABORTION, the taking of innocent life. Ask God that, as a nation, we will turn from this horrific sin.
DAY 5: “I will hear from heaven”
Ask God today to hear the prayers of millions across our land. Pray that His “eyes will be open and His ear attentive” to the prayers of His people. Ask God to give millions of people the faith to believe that God is doing today exactly what He promised: that if we will pray and turn, He will hear, forgive, and heal!
DAY 6: “I will forgive their sins”
Pray for a cleansing of the church and the nation. Pray specifically for God to wash over believers, churches, and our nation with a tidal wave of His forgiveness as we turn to Him.
Pray that we would not trust in ourselves for this forgiveness but turn to the cross and embrace what Christ has done as our sure hope of forgiveness.
Pray for a national spiritual awakening, that millions who don’t know Him will awaken to their lost condition, cry out to God, and find His forgiveness!
DAY 7: “I will heal their land!”
Pray for a great healing across our land! Pray for a healing of relationships, families, churches, and racial, cultural, and political division. Pray for a national healing from the Coronavirus that is profound and visible. Pray that God will heal us in such ways that only He could receive the glory … that even political, media, and healthcare leaders would recognize that it was the hand of God that healed our land!
JOIN US THE LAST NIGHT AT THE NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER VIDEO EVENT OR YOUR LOCAL EVENTS.