God is stirring His people. Across denominational and cultural lines. Across age groups and generational differences. Across theological preferences. There is a stirring, a longing, a hunger I’ve not seen since the days of the Jesus Movement.
During the Jesus Movement, the church missed a window of opportunity to see what could have been a spiritual awakening. The church, dead in tradition and preferences, didn’t know what to do with hippies, drug addicts, people sleeping together and living on the streets suddenly showing up at the church. Rather than adapt and embrace, the church resisted this movement. They didn’t want “those hippie freaks” in their services. When the church fails to embrace a movement of God, it is destined to wane. We missed our chance.
There are some of us, now senior adults, who were there. We were saved during that movement. If we were already believers, we realized there was more to church than the order of service. We saw a fresh wind and a fresh fire that we hadn’t seen before. There was something supernatural going on that couldn’t be explained or explained away.
I’m grateful I was in a town with a youth minister who “got it.” He saw what was happening and put himself in position to fan the flame. The end result was not a Disciple Now, not a CCM concert series, or a youth camp with a famous speaker. The end result was a prayer meeting.
The prayer meeting started out with a handful of high school and college students—sitting on the steps of my home church around the pulpit, singing the couple of songs someone knew on a guitar and then praying conversationally. James Miller, my youth pastor, guided the prayer time. He had a few laymen who wanted to be a part as well. At its peak, there were nights when nearly 300 students would gather to pray. We prayed multiple nights, often until 1 or 2 in the morning.
The only reason I can see why those prayer meetings died off is people started splitting off and “doing their own prayer meeting in our church where we are more comfortable with our style of doing things.” To put it bluntly, preferences began to rule over prayer. We lost that sense of koinonia fellowship, having all things in common. It’s wasn’t that the zeal, power, or answers were dying off; it was that little by little, those who hadn’t been in on the beginning started filtering in and wanted to change the dynamic. I would be so bold as to say they wanted to orchestrate the work of God.
I’ve been marked by those days. Revival and prayer have been the theme of my life. I would not, in any way, say I am a man of prayer. I am a man who prays, but I don’t think I’m at the level of a praying man. Some throughout history have been called to intercession. My friend, 92-year-old Don Miller, is that kind of man. He is an intercessor. If he is physically able today, he will be in his prayer arbor facing east and praying for others.
I believe in the power of prayer because I believe in the power of God. At a recent meeting, my friend Bill Elliff showed us how to cry out to God in prayer. It’s different than praying; it’s a cry of desperation, a cry birthed in urgency.
Last year, nearly 200 pastors gathered in Dallas, Texas, at the invitation of Ronnie Floyd to pray for revival and spiritual awakening. There was no other agenda. There were no other motives than to pray and seek God. It was the longest sustained prayer meeting I’ve been in with other believers since the days of the Jesus Movement.
After it was over, we didn’t know what to do. But once again, God laid it on Ronnie’s heart to call us to prayer. We met a few weeks ago in Atlanta, and, there, nearly 300 pastors and staff members from over 20 states gathered to pray. God did something in that meeting. There was a sense of oneness, a sense that we were getting in on God’s frequency. I believe God heard our cries.
We didn’t talk denominational politics; we didn’t talk football or golf. We prayed. We shared burdens, we repented, we cried out. It was a moment this weary pastor needed.
In every great move of God, there has been a return to prayer and intercession. I believe we are seeing a stirring among us. We are hearing reports of similar meetings in other cities and among other denominations. Pastors are dedicating whole services to prayer and crying out to God.
For whatever reason, God has laid this on many hearts. In particular, God has laid it on the OneCry movement which has been going for a couple of years. You can find out more about that movement and the resources available at www.onecry.com. Within our Southern Baptist life, God has seemingly called Ronnie Floyd to spearhead this movement. His church has embraced it and provided the resources for it to happen in the meetings I mentioned.
What God is doing is not accidental or coincidental. For the first time in my memory, we have a growing number of leaders who are passionate, burdened, and committed to prayer and revival. The president of the International Mission Board has a deep burden for revival and a strong commitment to prayer. The president of the North American Mission Board has strategically brought people on staff who focus on church revitalization.
At the same time, this prayer movement is, to me, a pastors’ movement. It’s not denominationally led, so it’s not a program or a conference to attend. It’s a call to prayer. I’m grateful for Ronnie Floyd sensing this need and casting this vision for all of us.
The reason I know this is of the Lord is I know Ronnie to be a man of prayer. Like a Nehemiah, he is a leader who knows how to hold a sword and build a wall. He is a man who won’t come down to answer critics who might even question his motives. I’m grateful. He had the faith to believe God for these events when most of us would have said it couldn’t be done.
This wave is building speed and height. I am praying for a tsunami that will break across the shores of this land, sweep away sin, corruption, and compromise, and clean the house of God from all impure motives. We need it. We desperately need it.
God is stirring. Let’s make sure we are all in the mix.
(Copyright, Michael C. Catt)
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.