CORPUS CHRISTI—Throughout the weekend, hundreds of messengers made their way to this gulf city on the southeastern edge of Texas to do the business of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention at its 25th annual meeting.
But as knees hit the floor during a prayer service to punctuate the meeting’s first day on Monday, the most important business—crying out to God—was being transacted.
This year’s annual meeting held a form similar to its predecessors, taking an intentional glance backward to celebrate all that God has done among SBTC churches over the previous 12 months. But this year, convention leadership made a pronounced effort to exhort God’s people to look ahead in an effort to make 2023 a year defined not by social upheaval or deep political division, but by prayer, revival, and a spiritual awakening that could sweep across not only the Lone Star State, but the entire nation and world.
“I want to ask you to wrestle with this question: do you want to see revival?” SBTC President Todd Kaunitz asked those gathered at Monday night’s prayer service. “Do you want to see revival in your own life? Do you want to see revival in your church? Revival … in our state and in our nation? Is that something that is the true core of your heart?”
Kaunitz, who pastors New Beginnings Baptist Church in Longview, led the gathering through a handful of prayer emphases. What started with prayers of confession and repentance gave way to a time of thanksgiving, and then to a unified appeal for God to reveal His glory. Those gathered then spent several minutes asking the Lord to give a fresh outpouring of His Spirit—the sole catalyst for any and every revival in history.
“In the Scriptures, specifically in the book of Acts, we see that when God’s people were desperate for Him to move, they cried out to the Lord,” Kaunitz said. “They didn’t just pray safe prayers. Moved and stirred by the Holy Spirit, they cried out to the Lord. What if we began to pray like that?”
The prayer service, which included worship led by Matt Boswell, pastor of The Trails Church in North Texas, ended with those gathered praying for others who publicly expressed a need for personal prayer, and finally, with prayers for those who are lost and in need of Jesus.
Unified prayer continued to be a theme on the second and final day of the meeting. SBTC Executive Director Nathan Lorick used the final portion of his annual report on Tuesday to call prayer “one of the pillars of who we’re going to be and what we’re going to do” as a state convention. He said it would be a “dream” if the SBTC could see 500 churches holding a regular prayer gathering in 2023.
“I just believe if we had that many churches on their faces like we were last night together, crying out to God, Texas could see a move of God like we’ve never experienced before,” Lorick said. “May we be known as the network of churches who are on our faces pleading for the hand of God to be on our churches, pleading for a move of God to be in our cities and across our state to the glory of God.”