When you think of the words “distinctive” or “Pentecostal” or “Assemblies of God,” maybe your mind immediately goes to our distinctive doctrine on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues. And you would be right. But I want to challenge you today on another distinctive that I believe is even more foundational to who we are and to the impact our fellowship has on our lives, in our culture, and around the world. It is the distinctive nature of our intentionality in prayer.
From the all-night watch services that ushered in the modern Pentecostal movement with the Baptism of Agnes Ozman in Topeka, Kansas, to the birth of the Assemblies of God in Hot Springs, Arkansas where the delegates prayed constantly for three days prior to the start of business, critical moments in the life of our fellowship have been marked with intentional and sustained prayer. As we approach the centennial of our fellowship and prepare to gather in Orlando for General Council (GC13), we are being called once again to such intentional and sustained prayer. I would like to echo this call. Whether or not you will be attending General Council, I beckon you to pray specifically for our fellowship and for this important gathering of leaders from around the United States and the world.
As you pray, consider these requests in your approach of the throne of grace:
- Wisdom: This may feel like a given. Decisions will be made. Policy will be enacted. As you pray, use the resolution booklet as a physical representation of where wisdom is needed, both for those who present changes to our fellowship and for those who will vote. In wisdom, we do not just ask for knowledge, although knowledge is important. As voting members, let us be well-versed on the resolutions presented so that votes are cast with a sure heart and a clear mind. As you consider and study proposed resolutions, ask the Lord to speak specifically to you about each of the items and for clarity in the discussion (and debate) that will take place on the floor. Spend time focused in prayer on the business that will be conducted and what your role is in participating in what will transpire.
- Unity: As with any gathering of people, like-minded or not, there will be differences of opinion. As you pray for GC13, pray that as decisions are made, resolutions are passed, and meetings commence, that we would be of one mind. Do not wait until after the business is complete and meetings adjourned to pray for the Lord to give you peace or to calm your dissenting spirit; rather, pray in earnest as we prepare for Council that the Lord would go ahead of us to prepare our hearts and minds to accept the decisions that are made and to hear the voices of those with whom we might differ.
- Outpouring: GC13 is a time to do business. Though decision making and vision casting are the primary functions of this biennial meeting, let’s not forget that Council is also a time of refreshment and fellowship. As you pray, ask the Lord to not only be present, but also to give a fresh wind and fire of His Spirit. Pray for those who will gather in Orlando, but also for those who are unable to attend. As many of us follow GC13 via live stream, Twitter and Facebook, ask the Holy Spirit to give a special touch and ignite a refreshing flame in the lives of those in our fellowship.
I am excited about where we are and where we are going. My enthusiasm for our fellowship grows stronger knowing that the prayers prayed over the last century have not ceased! We are the beneficiaries of this genealogy of prayer. Let’s take this moment to add to that genealogy, and may the Lord bless our fellowship this GC13 with a renewed sense of who He is and what we have been called to in His precious name!
When the founding members of the Assemblies of God concluded their time of prayer in Hot Springs, they marched around and through the city in a parade proclaiming the goodness of God and the work He was about to do. Can you imagine? I hope Downtown Disney is ready for a parade like they have never seen! Who is ready to proclaim the goodness of our Lord and what He is about to do in this work? Let’s BELIEVE together in prayer!
July 14th is the National Day of Prayer for GC13 as called for by our leadership in Springfield, Missouri. I encourage you to use the 7:14 prayer app each day as you pray for GC13 and other needs, but mark this day on your calendar to give to the Lord. I am looking forward to the testimony of this Council and its place in the record of our history of world-changing prayer.