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Thoughts for Prayer as We Fast for Easter

As I begin our day of fasting and prayer, I can’t help but think of what a difference a gospel-preaching church made in my family nearly 37 years ago. Not long after I was born, my family moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina so my dad could take up a job at one of the region’s many textile factories. As new parents, my mom and dad were considering how to make church a part of my life. They heard about a fast-growing, somewhat controversial church called the “Salem Baptist Church.” Upon the invitation of a co-worker they attended, and the anointed message of the plain-spoken, gospel-preaching pastor changed not only their eternal destinies, but through them, mine as well.

With no apologies I ask God to make us “great” as a church: “great” in that I would be greatly anointed as a preacher of his gospel; that God would give us great wisdom and insight into reaching people; that He would greatly give us the resources to do so; that you would be bold and wildly successful in engaging your neighbors, suite-mates, co-workers, and friends with the gospel. We ask, like Solomon, for greatness “for the sake of this great people” (1 Kings 3:9). Our community is filled with tens of thousands of people like my parents, whose eternal destinies, the destinies of their kids, and of their kids’ kids, will be changed if God blesses us. Some of these people are currently high school and college students, many years from being parents, but whose courses of life will be changed in a way that may affect their family for generations to come.

Among the other things we are praying for (see post below), ask God to “be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, that Your way may be known in all the earth and your salvation among all nations” (Psalm 67:1-4).

And then invite like crazy. No one should come alone this weekend.

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J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.