I read over at the Co-Allies site how the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention are partnering to encourage Christians to pray for 40 days leading up to the U.S. presidential election this coming Fall (September 26th to November 4th). For some reason the link at TGC is dead even though the 40/40 Prayer Vigil link is not. Here is the rationale behind this initiative:
Dear Friend in Christ, we are delighted that you will join us in prayer for spiritual revival and national renewal. Our nation is in need of both. Jesus declared that His followers are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). We must become engaged in this battle for our nation’s soul. However, until as Christians we experience revival in our own lives, it will be extremely difficult to restore our nation’s moral foundations.
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. 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.
This Prayer Guide will help you join with thousands of other fellow believers to bring these great needs before God. The Guide provides a page for each
day and hour of the 40/40 Prayer Vigil. Each page has everything you need to invest in a time of personal spiritual reflection and petition for yourself, the church, and the nation. Please keep in mind though, that the Guide is just that — a guide. It is designed to give you a starting place for your time of prayer. Here are some suggestions for making your prayer vigil a powerful, personal spiritual time.
I was glad to see that the guide includes more than simply praying for the next president of the United States of America. It does mention that prayers are needed for communities, families, and churches.
But I am still perturbed at the way that evangelicals focus on presidential politics — letting the national election cycle of the one officer voted into office by the general populace set the agenda for American society. The key to turning things around in the U.S. has little to do with the next president or the bloated federal bureaus he or she (apologies to the Baylys) oversees. It even has less to do with ideas (or W-W) and the consequences they have.
In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the family in the United States is not doing to well. Marriage rates are down, divorces are up, and there is this pesky little matter of homosexual marriage. Not to be missed is the way that parents are apparently dropping the ball in child rearing. Has anyone heard of bullying? And has anyone considered that the best way to stop bullying is for parents to lay down a little discipline in the home? Meanwhile, state and city governments continue to dump boatloads of money on urban school districts (and their various meal plans) without ever seeming to consider that student learning begins at home. And if the homes of urban youth are not in good shape, how exactly are a couple of square meals and a No-Child-Left-Behind formula going to fix the marriages necessary for children not to flourish but simply get by?
For that reason, Old Life is proposing a forty-day vigil for families. It begins today and goes to June 1, the forty days before the month most associated with marriage. And the first petition for April 23 is to pray that evangelicals and Southern Baptists will wake up about what’s really important in American society. It’s the family, less than intelligent one!