Prayer is key to spiritual awakening in America, conference speaker says

Communications Staff — February 18, 2005

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Christians must move to a greater level of intensity in their prayer lives if they hope to see spiritual awakening occur in America, said prayer expert Gregory Frizzell at “A Great Commission Prayer Conference” at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Frizzell, prayer and spiritual awakening specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and John Franklin, prayer ministry and discipleship specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, served as plenary session speakers at the Feb. 4-5 conference. The conference was jointly sponsored by the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and Southern Seminary.

Southern Seminary professors Ken Fentress, Tim Beougher, Chuck Lawless and John Ewart were among the leaders of the conference’s breakout sessions.

Thousands of churches have prayer ministries, but those ministries have not brought about a great revival in America since 1905, Frizzell said. This reality should cause believers to seek a vibrant prayer life that brings about changed hearts and lives, he said.

“A different level of prayer, of closeness, of surrender must yet happen in our prayer movement,” he said. “And praise God, I believe it’s about to happen. There’s an enormous amount of hope that we’re moving beyond casual prayer. … Now we’re moving into God-seeking, Kingdom-focused intercession.”

One element to a Kingdom-focused prayer life is seeking God rather than merely seeking His blessings, Frizzell said.

“The prayer movement in America, in some ways, has been a mile wide but a half inch deep,” he said. “It’s been a lot about, ‘Give me, bless me, bless me,’ but not about, ‘Cleanse me, break me and glorify Yourself.’ But it’s changing. We’re coming back to Him.”

A second element to Kingdom-focused prayer is praying with faith, he said.

Although Baptists must reject the unbiblical “name it and claim it” theology espoused by some Christian leaders, they must pray according to God’s will and believe that He will answer their prayers, Frizzell said.

“The great moves of God come when we have … a faith that God’s put within us from our personal relationship with Him,” he said. “And that kind of faith … brings breakthroughs. That gets folks saved in massive numbers. That kind of prayer and that kind of prayer alone … brings the great revival.”

When Christians begin to pray in faith, even a small number of prayer warriors can be used to bring about a great revival, Frizzell said.

“One of the greatest freeing things in my life was when God helped me see as a pastor, ‘I’m not going to send revival in your church through the big numbers. It’s going to be through a tiny little remnant that will go from ok praying to mountain-moving intercession and cleansing,’” he said.

Another key to Kingdom-focused prayer is for God’s people to seek deep cleansing and repent of their sins, Frizzell said.

Drawing from James 4-5, Frizzell noted that “deep cleansing, deep confession comes before the mighty release of power.”

In order to bring about a movement of powerful prayer in America, Christians must devote greater time to prayer and turn to the Scriptures for instructions regarding effective prayer, he said.

The Lord’s Prayer serves as a good example for prayer warriors to follow because it focuses on God’s Kingdom rather than the felt needs of the individual praying, he said.

“Has there been a real change in your life lately where the passion has exploded?” Frizzell asked. “It almost always comes out of a willingness to draw near to God by giving Him some serious time, giving Him a chance to cleanse, giving Him a chance to give you the passion. And you will be amazed … what will happen.”

Frizzell added, “God is so ready to explode into us. He’s so ready if we show up for [prayer], give Him a chance, let Him really wash our heart deeply through His Word. … He will meet you.”

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