Though the 40 days of fasting may have concluded for those who chose to engage in one for Lent, it's only just begun for many in and from Missouri who are seeking divine intervention for their state amid a budget crisis.
Thousands from and throughout Missouri are engaged in a 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting campaign for their state in the time leading up to May 7 – the deadline that lawmakers have to cut millions of dollars out of the current version of the budget before the presentation of the final one to Gov. Jay Nixon.
Though states across the nation are facing economic woes, the people of Missouri decided to embark on a prayer and fasting campaign after the state's budget crisis "woke them up," according to ministry leader Anne Graham Lotz, who helped kick off the effort last week at a gathering in front of the Missouri Capitol Rotunda.
"I believe the 'alarms' are going off in our world today," said Lotz, pointing to "alarms" such as the 9/11 attacks, the recent slew of big-scale natural disasters, and the economic meltdown.
"And I believe God is trying to wake us up. And He's trying to tell us that there is danger ahead, that we need to get right with Him to prepare for what's coming," she added. "But my concern is that we have been sleeping through the alarms. Which is one reason I want to tell you I am so honored and humbled and thrilled to come to Jefferson City in Missouri because I believe you all may be the first ones to start waking up."
Last week, State Budget Director Linda Luebbering announced that 2010 fiscal year-to-date net general revenue collections declined 13.3 percent compared to fiscal year 2009, from $5.40 billion last year to $4.68 billion this year.
And last month, after reviewing the preliminary February revenue figures, Gov. Nixon announced that even as Missouri's economy begins to rebound, state revenues will continue to lag for a prolonged period of time.
"It is my hope that we can continue to work together in a bipartisan fashion to not only balance next year's budget, but also keep our state on sound fiscal footing for years to come," he said.
Lotz, whose ministry is actually based out of Raleigh, N.C., said she's hoping for the "Show Me" state will show the rest of the nation through the revival campaign that it's time to "wake up and get right with God."
Throughout the 40 days, Lotz will be sending out daily e-mail to guide participants in the effort "so that God's people all over the Nation can join and be guided in the 40 days of prayer and fasting, focusing on the One who holds the future of Missouri - Jesus Christ."
Lotz's ministry, AnGeL Ministries, undergirds her efforts to draw people into a life-changing relationship with God through His Word.