On July 4th, 1776, the founding fathers of this nation issued a declaration of independence that sent shock waves around the world. Prior to ever issuing that declaration, however, they gathered together, counted the cost, and circled in prayer. Before they “raised their Ebenezer”—their banner and declaration that “when in the course of human events” it had become necessary to become a separate nation—they prayerfully sought the Lord’s direction and protection.
To declare independence from the most powerful nation in the world at that time, Great Britain, was a costly, careless, and ridiculous undertaking—unless God was in it. It indeed cost many lives, damaged much property, and strained this newborn nation to the breaking point—but God was in it, and the United States was birthed in the midst of great amounts of blood, sweat, and tears over the next five years of war. But make no mistake. It was heartfelt, often desperate prayer that empowered the greatest revolution the world has ever seen outside of the Cross of Calvary! That prayer was powerfully pictured in a group of founding fathers who circled in prayer long and hard before they ever wrote a word of declaration…
Many of us—including everyone in a leadership position in the Church—have been reading The Circle Maker, by Pastor Mark Batterson. The book powerfully presents a simple concept—that we are called to circle intentionally and passionately and persistently those things that are from God’s heart and those things that move His heart. God is calling us to circle this congregation and His plans for us in prayer. He is challenging us to dream big, pray big, believe big and see His power move big. He is raising us up to be a lighthouse not only to the Upper Cumberland’s but even to the Church across the nation—particularly the United Methodist Church. He is raising this congregation up to have national and even international influence—IF we are willing to pray big, believe big, and move forward with big faith!
As you celebrate our Nation’s birth, I challenge you to circle this Church—and Nation—in desperate and deliberate prayer. God has a destiny for this Church far bigger than our current limitations suggest. Our greatest days as a congregation are before us as the Lord prepares His Bride for His return! God is not finished with the United States, either. A mighty revival across this land would send shock waves around the world larger than the ones in 1776. PLEASE, TOGETHER, let’s circle up and pray for nothing short of God’s best!!