Photo Credit: Prayer March 2020/Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)
Note: The conclusion of the article is based upon the views of the author.
The past year has been a roller coaster for all of us. We’ve seen a pandemic unfold unlike any other in our lifetime, economic hardship for many as a direct consequence of that pandemic, racial and social injustices, an election on the loose, a nation growing more and more divided, an incredibly active hurricane season, and deadly wildfires in the West. Despite all of these dreadful, heinous, disasters, God is still with us. He still stands tall in the middle of everything. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-11, the Apostle Paul talks about how God’s power shines through weakness: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (NIV). This does not negate the hardship and importance of what has been experienced over these past grueling months, but it does mean that God is able to do great things in our most desperate hour.
Last Saturday, September 26th, was a day dedicated to prayer and repentance. Individuals gathered in Washington D.C. for an event known as The Return organized by Jonathan Cahn and Kevin Jessip which featured religious, political, and entertainment leaders. Some figures included Don Moen, Kevin and Sam Sorbo, Paul Wilbur, Gordon and Dr. Pat Robertson, Dr. Ben Carson, and Michelle Bachmann. The day was divided up with repentant prayers for individuals, the country, and the world. Cahn also delivered his prophetic message to America based upon the message the prophet Jeremiah delivered to Israel about their future destruction due to their evil, immoral ways which did not reflect the God they were supposedly serving.
Cahn spoke of the sins that America is guilty of: taking God out of education, government, laws, and media, idolizing American prosperity and comforts, hetero and homo sexual mal-practices, immorality, racism, self-obsession, and abortion. Cahn warned that if America was not repentant of what we were allowing, the judgment of God was going to befall upon us soon; he emphasized that America has taken the founding and blessing that God has provided, and used it for personal benefit, instead of acting for the glory of God.
Cahn stated the creation and existence of America was “for the glory of God and the advancement of the faith.” He asked the crowd, “How long? How long America will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, then serve Him!”
The Return also featured an unexpected letter from President Trump who remarked, “On this inaugural National Day of Prayer and Return, the First Lady and I join millions of Christians here in the United States and around the world in prayer, as we turn our hearts to our Lord and Savior.”
The Return wasn’t the only event going on at the National Mall on Saturday. The 2020 Prayer March commenced with evangelist Franklin Graham as its leader. Graham is the son of the late Reverend Billy Graham who led around 215 million people to hear about the Lord. Thousands from across the country came out to join Graham, including 2,200 Liberty students in 44 buses. Vice President Mike Pence came out to give an address to the crowd at the beginning of the march.
He told the crowd, “We stand today on an ancient promise that Americans have claimed throughout history, that if His people who are called by His name should humble themselves and pray, He’ll hear from heaven and He’ll heal this land,” referencing 2 Chronicles 7:14.
The march started at the Lincoln Memorial where the focus was on repentance of sins in the United States. The next stop was the WWII Memorial for prayer over police, military, firefighters, and other law enforcement and their families, followed by the Washington Monument where prayer included topics such as salvation for those who do not know Christ, the pandemic, abortion, and family renewal. After the Washington Monument, marchers gathered close to the White House for prayer over all those working in the Executive Branch including the president, vice president, and their families. The National Museum of African American History and Culture focused on reconciliation among races, healing for communities affected by injustice and violence, and compassion and kindness for one another. The sixth stop at the National Archives was where prayer over religious freedom and boldness to stand for and to preach the Gospel occurred. Lastly, the U.S. Capitol was where the Supreme Court, Congress, and all local, state, and national leaders were prayed over.
For viewers watching from home, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Franklin Graham’s daughter Cissie Graham Lynch hosted the event, speaking about each prayer site on the walk. You can view the prayer march map here.
Friends, I encourage you to take this opportunity—even if you missed the event—to pray for the country, for the pandemic, for the world, and for our hearts to be changed by the Spirit of God. The Book of Esther was a monumental time in history for the Jews. They were facing the possibility of being brutally annihilated, and it came down to the courage of Esther to go boldly before the king on behalf of her people. Mordecai asks her in verse 4:14 if perhaps she was created for such a time as this. There is no mistake that we are here, alive now, during this time of frightening circumstances, because God has created us for such a time as this. Now, we must boldly come before the throne of grace, ready to repent, obey, and seek our King.