SBC President Ronnie Floyd leads SEBTS community to unite in prayer

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united in prayerRonnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), visited Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) for a time of extended prayer for the next great awakening in America and around the world.

Floyd spearheaded the event, “United in Prayer,” which took place in two sessions on September 18 in Binkley Chapel. The first, from 10 a.m. to noon, was focused on the faculty, staff and students at SEBTS. The second, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., was geared toward pastors, church staff and church members in the region. The event was available live online for those that could not be present on campus.

Floyd believes that the current American generation has fallen asleep spiritually and is in need of God. He highlighted leaders of the first Great Awakening in the 1730s and 40s including Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield.

Drawing inspiration from some of Edwards’ own words, Floyd said, “We need to come together now in explicit agreement, visible union and extraordinary prayer for the next great awakening.”

Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern, extended a warm welcome to Floyd and his team from Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas.

“We are here today to get ourselves personally in a posture to pray for the next great awakening in America and around the world,” Floyd said. “Today we are going to invest time talking to God … and allow God to do a work in us.”

Participants were encouraged to go through a process of personal repentance and revival and then pray for others.

“Today this Great Commission seminary is going to call out to God with all of our hearts,” he emphasized. “God has the power to meet you at the point of the greatest need of your life.”

Floyd defined revival as the manifestation of God in one’s life and highlighted Psalm 51. “God wants us to live in a continual flow of His Spirit in our lives,” Floyd said.

Alvin Reid, professor of evangelism and student ministry, concluded the time of personal revival and led the audience in prayer.

Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, spoke about revival in churches in the Raleigh-Durham area and beyond, especially the 46,000 SBC churches in America.

Gaines urged the church today to desire to look like the church in Acts. “Missions began in the same place the church began, in a prayer meeting,” he said. “When you saturate your church and ministry in prayer, God shows up.”

He challenged the audience to make prayer the priority of their lives. “The most important thing in your life is talking to God,” Gaines said. “If you really love someone you enjoy talking more to them than about them. I’d rather talk to Jesus more than anyone else I know.”

John Hammett, senior professor of systematic theology, concluded the prayer time for the local church.

To prepare for the final topic of prayer, Akin shared a message about taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth and highlighted past saints of God who were adamant in prayer.

He referenced Revelation 5 and said, “I believe the Bible teaches that God has been collecting the prayers of His people. … God is listening. He is going to answer, maybe not in our time but in His.”

He emphasized that for the last 25 years the mission of the SBC has been to take the Gospel to the nations. According to Akin, 3.5 billion people still do not have access to the Gospel.

“Will we be a part of it or will we be watching?” Akin asked. “Will we be preoccupied with many good things but not the best and most important things?”

“The first and hardest work of fulfilling the Great Commission takes place on our knees,” Akin said. “It is prayer that God is going to respond to in reaching the nations with the Gospel.”

“We must also be a praying seminary. I’m not sure that is where we are, but I do know I want us to go there. I believe that it is there that we find the power and promise to get the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”

Floyd asked attendees to pray for a personal passion for the Gospel, for financial resources to reach the nations and for David Platt, the new president of the International Mission Board.

Nathan Finn, associate professor of historical theology and Baptist studies, closed the event in prayer.

Attendees were also asked to pray for 30 days during October with the North Carolina Baptists.

To learn more about the prayer movement, please visit

To view photos from this event, please click here

To watch these messages online, please click here. 

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