The 87th General Assembly acted at its July 2021 meeting, held at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa, to call for a day of prayer and fasting by the whole church. In this action the stated clerk was requested by the Assembly to send correspondence to every presbytery of the OPC notifying them (and, thereby, all the ministers and sessions within their bounds) of this action. This notification to the presbyteries was sent on July 20, 2021.
As the day appointed by the Assembly draws near, it seemed good to highlight this decision of the General Assembly as a reminder to all the members of the OPC, as well. Here is the statement adopted by the Assembly along with its grounds:
The 87th General Assembly determines to call for a day of prayer and fasting on Saturday, August 21, 2021, that the whole church may pray as one people, and call upon the Lord with one voice, that we might lament our distress and unworthiness before the Lord, confess our sin, and commit ourselves anew to the faithful service of the Lord our God (DPW V, A.4); that we humbly implore God to send seasons of refreshment, pour His Spirit of wisdom upon us, and draw multitudes to the hope of the gospel by granting faith and repentance unto life, and that the Stated Clerk is hereby requested to send correspondence to every presbytery of the OPC notifying them of this action.
- Ezra proclaimed a fast “that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe
journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. . . . So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty” Ezra 8:21-23 (ESV).
The OPC’s Directory for Worship provides that “[w]hen great and notable calamities come upon
or threaten the church, community, or nation, when judgment is deserved because of sin, when the people seek some special blessing from the Lord . . . it is fitting that the people of God engage in times of solemn prayer and fasting.” BCO DPW V, A.1.
Participation in this denomination-wide event is, of course, voluntary, for as the OPC’s Form of Government XV, 8 rightly states:
The general assembly is not invested with power, by virtue of its own authority, to make pronouncements which bind the conscience of the members of the church.
At the same time, this section of the Form of Government goes on to affirm:
Yet the deliverances of the general assembly, if declarative of the Word of God, are to be received with deference and submission not only because of their fidelity to the Word of God but also because of the nature of the general assembly as the supreme judicatory of the church.
Please consider this affirmation of the Form of Government as you deliberate whether to take part in this day of prayer and fasting on August 21.
May the Lord bless us and our denomination as we seek to honor him together.
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