When the jobs vanish, the banks close, the government cash-dispensing programs dry up and the world seems to be crumbling, where should Americans turn?
As they have in past times of crises, to God, according to a campaign that is dedicated to raising prayer to the heavens from every county across the nation.
It’s the “Cry Out America” effort that explains that American Christians already know that “hope is not found in government, nor is it found in finances.”
This weekend is the 10th anniversary of the Islamic terror attacks that rocked the continent and cost nearly 3,000 lives in Washington, D.C., New York City and Pennsylvania. So the Awakening America Alliance is staging its fourth annual “Cry Out America” prayer program, encouraging prayer at county courthouses across the nation on Sunday.
“The Awakening America Alliance believes that America could be on the verge of a sweeping move of God’s spirit that will touch every state, every county and every heart,” organizers explain.
“There is an obvious sweeping move of God across America through these nationwide 9/11 Cry Out America prayer gatherings that know no age, gender, denominational or race boundaries,” a spokesman said in an email to WND.
They report that partners have promised prayer events in at least one county in every state of the union, as well as in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. In South Carolina, every county has at least one prayer event being planned.
Billy Wilson, chairman of the Awakening America Alliance, told WND the “attacks on our nation on Sept. 11, 2001, were the wakeup call of a lifetime for all of us.”
“On this 10th anniversary we invite believers across America to unite with us in issuing a spiritual wakeup call for a new Christ awakening in our generation during countywide prayer gatherings and by praying in their local churches on 9/11 during the Cry Out America initiative,” he said.
Wilson said that so far there are more than 2,300 official prayer points in more than 1,300 counties set up for Sunday. That’s more than one-third of all the nation’s counties.
The effort gets its marching orders from the Old Testament prophet Joel: “Over 2,600 years ago, God prescribed in Joel 1:14 how we are to return: ‘Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.’
“In obedience to the Lord, we have gathered here on this occasion to do exactly that,” the organization says.
Wilson told WND “some gatherings will have over 3,000 people present and others will be as small as a handful.”
“Last year we had one gathering with one person praying on the steps of the Reno, Nev., courthouse and another with just two people gathered.”
He said the average is about 100 people.
WND has reported on numerous efforts in the U.S. in recent months to restrict Christian prayer. Wilson noted that the “greatest struggles have been for local organizers to help local officials understand that this is not only legal but a protected right for public assembly.”
“Overall, there is a resistance to prayer in public space, but our county coordinators have proven themselves courageous and shown spiritual savvy in getting things done,” he said.
The Awakening America Alliance hopes that this is only the beginning of a spiritual awakening across the country.
“Most impressive to me have been several accounts where politicians, first-responders, service personnel, ministers and Christian believers have all literally lain on their face in the public square and in public view to say to God that we are humbling ourselves, repenting of our wicked ways and asking for His gracious help and for a new awakening. If this were to happen across the nation and in Washington we would see a huge turnaround in this nation,” Wilson told WND.
Wilson said he hopes to encourage grassroots Christians to call for more public prayer. According to the Star-Tribune of Chatham, Va., there were 500 people on the courthouse steps in a recent show of support for a decision by the county board of supervisors to continue allowing prayer at meetings.
Supporters sang hymns and held signs that read, “We Support Praying in the Name of Jesus Christ.”
The ACLU started the controversy by sending a letter to the county last month warning board supervisors that Christian prayer violates the First Amendment.
Said Rev. Doug Barber, “We’ve gotten off the pews tonight and we’re standing up for Jesus.”
Wilson said that 10 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks “our nation needs God’s protection and grace more than ever.”
“We welcome every concerned believer to join us in prayer for America during their Sunday services and united in countywide prayer gatherings,” he said. “Together I believe we can see America turn around and witness a new spiritual awakening in the 21st century.”
A year ago, there were prayer events in about 1,000 counties.