Praying around the Capitol
This is a plea to Christians all across Mississippi to mark Monday, November 7, on your calendars and make plans to be part of one of the greatest prayer gatherings in state history when, at high noon, we will encircle Mississippi’s New Capitol building in downtown Jackson. It will be the day before our country makes an incredible decision about a future leader and the direction of the nation — but this prayer gathering is not in any way a political/partisan rally. It is a gathering of God’s people for prayer. It’s not about personalities. It’s about the power of God and our desire that He have His way in us, our state, and our nation. I know that the issues before us and the decisions we face are far bigger and more complicated than any one of us — and all of us put together — but they are not beyond Him and so we will gather to look to God and ask Him to lead us and intervene in all of the decisions that will be made across the land.
Through the decades I have been a part of many prayer gatherings on the steps of the New Capitol, around the New Capitol, and inside the New Capitol, but never have I had the opportunity to be a part of something like this. On the sidewalks on every side of the block on which the New Capitol rests — north, east, south, west — there will be Christians designated to stand there. Other Christians will gather around them while they lead in a prayer experience. If you and I were eagles flying over the New Capitol, we would see this huge rectangle formed by the people of God who will be calling out to heaven and asking Him, the Lord of Glory, to come and do a mighty work in us.
Why gather like this for prayer? The answer is found in Scripture where God’s people get together for prayer. You may remember that shortly after Jesus ascended to the Father, the disciples gathered in one accord for prayer (Acts 1:14). Why did they do that? Looking back over the three and a half years they had been with Jesus, He had taught them to do that. We do not have a full record of each time Jesus and His disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane, but according to Scripture it was apparently a frequent gathering place for them. It was at that place where Jesus had brought them for the last moments that He would spend with them, that the focus was prayer. That is what we will be doing when we surround the New Capitol on the day before the day we vote.
Our focus is going to be not on us but Him, for here is the greatest truth of all that we need to keep in mind: Jesus is Lord. He was, He is, He always will be, and we will look to Him. Jesus is Lord and wants to exercise His lordship in us. He is Lord of all things and all people. They may not call upon Him, but He is still Lord. The day after the election, regardless of who gets what votes, Jesus will still be Lord and we will still look to Him. Jesus is Lord, and prayer does make a difference.
In the days ahead, you can visit the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board web site (mbcb.org) and see the outline of the schedule as people will begin gathering at about 11 a.m. If you can get there before 12 noon, you can get into one of the cluster groups and here’s what I want to encourage you to do. Be praying daily for this experience. While I’ve been to some large prayer rallies across our state and at our Capitol building, this could be the most significant of all not just in size but in impact. Let me encourage you to not only pray about this prayer gathering but be a part of it. Bring a group from your church. Bring young people. Bring senior adults. Get together with some friends and come. If there are people who have difficulties and disabilities that won’t allow them to move around on the New Capitol grounds, there will be provisions at the nearby Christian Life Center of First Church, Jackson, where you can find easier access and be a part of the prayer experience, too.
That incredible verse God has given to us in 2 Chronicles 7:14 states, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” He has done it before. He can do it now, as we gather before Him in prayer.
There are a couple of important thoughts I would like to point out about this verse. God says, “If my people, which are called by my name…” This gathering, sponsored by MBCB and First Church, Jackson, is not just a Baptist gathering. It is about all God’s people coming together: His people, regardless of language. His people, regardless of race or background. His people, regardless of some designated label that we put on each other. God’s people, who look to the living Lord Jesus for guidance and help. We are going to come together – young and old, tall and short, male and female, hopeless and homeless, helpless and hairless, even the hapless! We will come humbled because the issues, decisions, problems, and answers are beyond us. We will come to pray and ask God to do the incredible, the unusual, and the work that can only be assigned to Him so that we will be able to look back and say, “That was a moment with God and for His glory.”
Mark this down, write it in your Bible, put on a notecard, stick it on your refrigerator, and keep it on your heart – on November 7, we will join together for a prayer statement around the New Capitol as we call upon God together.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.