Dear USMB family,
Fervent prayer is essential. If any movement is going to happen, if any fruit, if any impact, it will be undergirded with prayer. I find it reassuring in a way that God often waits on us to come to him in concerted, intense prayer before he responds.
God could certainly bring movement to ministries without our prayers. But I believe he wants us engaged with him, acknowledging him as the source. Jesus himself told us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, emphasis added).
In my early 20s I read Daws, a book about the life and ministry of Dawson Trotman, the founder of Navigators, an interdenominational Christian discipleship ministry. Known as “Daws” by those close to him, Trotman would spend hours in prayer. He attributed the movement of The Navigators to this kind of intense prayer. It was this book that began God’s call on my life for full-time ministry.
We have recently witnessed the prayer movement at Asbury University where students and then others coming from across the country met for a spontaneous, round-the-clock prayer service that lasted more than two weeks. It was national news. What is the outcome of that event? I’m not sure we’ll know for some time the full extent of what God will do.
Many have said several people came to know Jesus during those 17 or so days, so there is certainly eternal fruit.
Several people have commented to me recently that there has never been a great movement of God that wasn’t first preceded by a season of intense prayer. If that’s true, why don’t we pray like that, expectant of what God might do? Could it be we’re just too lazy or busy? Too engulfed in our current life patterns to break out more time for prayer? Could it be we’re afraid that even if we commit more time to speak with God that whatever we’re hoping for won’t pan out? I think there’s probably some truth in all of those.
This letter is a call to prayer for us as a USMB family. Might we collectively intensify our prayer, both in time and in expectancy, asking God to bring new life and fervor to our churches, our mission, our ministries and our leaders?
I am typing this letter through tears. Immediately after writing the previous paragraph, the hairs on my arms and neck stood on end and I began to weep, and I couldn’t stop weeping for some time. God is calling us to pray—and to pray much.
I’m not completely sure what God wants us to pray for—except that we pray collectively that he might use this USMB family of churches in ways we haven’t dreamed. To be open to a movement that he directs. To keep praying and keep seeking him. To pray for unity. To pray for the lost and to preach the gospel, keeping to the truth of Scripture and seeking Jesus as our center.
I’m calling our USMB family to a 24-hour time of prayer and fasting on 7/7/23. Perhaps begin July 7 at 6 p.m. and end July 8 at 6 p.m., or something close to that. God, we’re asking for you to move among us!
Don Morris is the USMB national director. He and his wife, Janna, live in Edmond, Oklahoma, where they attend Cross Timbers Church.