A Smoldering Wick
A Prayer for the Southern Baptist Convention
Blessed Spirit of God,
When the sun sets, long shadows are cast upon the earth. As darkness settles, Discord plays a tempting tune. He beckons us to revel in gossip, dance in slander, and merrily laugh as our brothers topple and fall. In such a time as this, the SBC now waits.
For months leading up to our convention, you have seen fit to reveal truth after truth of latent sins which cast long shadows over our denomination. Should we attempt to hide our racist past? Should we not discuss the abuses heaped upon your daughters? Would we not recognize that all our faculties have been a weapon of revolt against you? Without you man’s heart sits in darkness and claims his own darkness is lighter than his brother’s.
Oh Lord, how can we rejoice in idle talk? How could we waltz with slanderers? How could we rejoice in our fallen brethren? For these ways are not your way. You are gentle, even with us sinners. Your kindness leads us to repentance. A smoldering wick you would not put out.
Do not put us out, Father. A smoldering wick is what we are before you. Once Southern Baptists may have claimed to be a blazing fire – an evangelistic zeal which burned bright with love for you – but now we rejoice in embers. We comfort ourselves in the past. We remind ourselves that baptismal pools, now stagnant, were once rippling with waves of life. My God and my Lord, forgive me and my people. Infirmities and weakness are ours for want of spiritual life. We’ve erected idols of our own victories in the temple of your gospel mission. Souls have not been helped as we bathe in the glories of our past obedience. Lord, forgive us.
Do not put us out, Begotten Son. A smoldering wick you would not put out. We have not moved from calling you Lord exclusively (may we never move from your solid foundation). Yet, those who love you obey your commandments! Help us in our unbelief. In flesh you were tempted by every temptation. In flesh you were abused by the leaders of religion and government. You were wrongfully accused by your own people. Hear then the cries of our sisters who, having been wrongfully abused by their own brothers, have cried out for justice. Can we not be humble enough to ask their forgiveness? Only if we are first humble enough to first ask for yours. By your grace forgive us. Help us to rejoice more in what we receive from you ,than in what we do for you.
Do not put us out, Holy Spirit. A smoldering wick can be brought to life by a gentle breath. Our embers could glow again if you blew upon us the breath of life! Oh, what revival we could have, if in mercy you reignited our flame. Hear the groaning of our leaders as they call us to pray. Help us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray. Intercede for us with groans that words cannot express. Hear our broken hearts as we beg for your presence. In this hour of humiliation, show us again the reviving power of the Holy Spirit. Over the waters you hovered waiting for the impregnating words of the Father. Over Mary you shadowed bringing life to the virgin womb. Over us fan a new fire for Jesus our Lord and savior. We desire to see salvation. But would you use a dirty brush to paint a perfect picture? Cleanse us that we may be ready for revival.
Do not put us out, Most Holy Trinity. A smoldering wick needs the kindling light of your love. May your cause -not our own- engage our hearts. It is the cause of your kingdom for which we long. Sin accomplishes much in our hearts by way of silencing the gospel. Do not let us be silent concerning sin. Do bring in great numbers to Jesus! Let our convention see that glorious day.
Amen, Come Lord Jesus.