(This message was originally published on January 24, 2013) I remember the first time I flew on an airplane. It was right after graduating from seminary and we were flying to a pastors' conference in Jacksonville, FL. The flight attendant gave the emergency instructions and modeled how to put on the oxygen mask in the event of the loss of cabin pressure. Having flown many times since then, I really don't pay much attention to the pre-flight instructions anymore.
As Christians and as church leaders, there may be times when we need to be reminded and also remind the churches we serve about the Lord's instructions for our journey in this life. Please allow me a moment to encourage you and your church in the area of prayer.
Many people view prayer as an emergency oxygen mask. However, prayer is not something to be used only in times of emergency and crisis. Prayer is more like breathing itself. Martin Luther wrote, "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."
The Apostle Paul prayed often and encouraged believers to pray. He was a person of prayer and called on churches to be people and places of prayer. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, he ended by simply asking them, "Brothers, pray for us" (1 Thessalonians 5:25).
Please join me in calling SBCV churches to be people of prayer. This Sunday, the Southern Baptist Convention is calling for a day of prayer. Through our Gospel partnership, the SBCV missionaries and ministry team pray for you. We pray for churches seeking pastors; churches celebrating; churches in need; and for church planters. As SBCV pastors and staff gather at pastor networks, power meals, and fellowships, we pray. As churches and small groups gather this weekend, God's people pray. This weekend, many students and leaders will join together at our Youth Evangelism Conference (East) in Virginia Beach-they will pray! May the SBCV partnership of churches be a family of prayer.
In my writing to you this month, I have attempted to simply call us to be a state convention that will recognize our dependency upon the Lord. "Brothers, pray for us."
Thank you for your prayers for your SBCV missionaries and their families. Please continue to remember our Student Ministry strategist Steve Maltempi's family and their son Jonny.
As I close, I want to point you to a prayer resource that you may find helpful. This resource, 52 Sundays, gives your church an SBC/SBCV missionary or church planter to pray for each week. Here is a link to the resource on our website. As always, SBCV missionaries and staff are ready to assist you in your mission. Please let me know if I can do anything for you or your church. I would also love to visit with you. Don't hesitate to call or email.