Pentecostal churches are emphasizing the importance of prayer as they urge their congregants to pray in the coming weeks for the election and in the coming years for spiritual development.
Mobilizing believers to vote on Election Day, Nov. 4, the Assemblies of God General Superintendent George O. Wood is encouraging American Christians to pray for God's sovereign will to be accomplished in the upcoming elections and in the nation.
Christian voters are urged to search their Bible and observe the values and behaviors that please God, such as life, family and compassion for others, before they choose their candidate.
"As we come to this November election, our nation stands at a crossroad in many ways," says Wood in a video promoting the importance of voting this fall. "Only a return to solid, biblical values can save America. We need a leader with integrity who will exhibit those values."
The video has a strong pro-life tone as bold face messages such as: "When does life begin?" "Every life matters," and "Families must be protected" appear on the screen in the first half of the video.
"Every vote does count. Your vote does matter," Wood emphasizes.
American Christians are also asked to pray for the leaders and for a spiritual awakening in the country.
"Take time to really pray about who you vote for in this election, along with issues that may be on your ballot," Wood says.
But beyond Election Day, another Pentecostal denomination is calling its member congregations to prayer over the next two years for spiritual development and different aspects of ministry.
The Church of God, the second largest Pentecostal denomination, announced this week a two-year prayer initiative which begins with the "Great Day of Prayer" on Sunday. Local congregations are encouraged to participate with the prayer theme of "gratitude," said Raymond Culpepper, the general overseer of the 8 million-member Church of God.
Similar prayer days will be held every quarter until July 2010.
Doug Small, director of Project Pray of Alive Ministries, will be leading the prayer initiative. He has developed a series of resources for the event, including a pastor's guide on how to promote and conduct the Great Day of Prayer.
The resource outlines a thesis, key ideas, a prayer plan, principles and practical tips for the theme of gratitude.
"All prayer is to be wrapped in an attitude of gratitude," Small writes in the resource for the first Great Day of Prayer. "Great and godly people are grateful people."
Some of the key ideas in the resource include:
• Gratitude forces a review of the gracious acts of God in our behalf, and it alters our perspective in prayer
• Gratitude fuses with humility, which invites God's further grace. Gratitude is the gateway to greater grace
• Gratitude is the evidence that acknowledge the Father's loving actions, his involvement in our lives. For the most part, we don't have a faith problem, we have a love problem. We do not doubt the ability of God nearly as much as we doubt the willingness of God.
Similar resources will be available as each future Great Day of Prayer approaches to address the specified theme. The next Great Day of Prayer is Jan. 4, 2009.
On the Web: www.forwardtogetherinchangingtimes.com