Two major prayer events were organized in US on two coastal extremes on April 9, and shared the same aim of prayers - to increase love, brotherhood, and healing. One was held in Washington DC, and the other in Los Angeles, which effectively forms a "Bridge of Prayer," a press release said.
In Washington, United Cry DC 16 reached about 30,000 pastors from different denominations and ethnicities. The event was held at Lincoln Memorial in the US capital on April 9, but the objective was to reach more pastors through radio, live streaming, and TV. The prayers began at 8:30 am and continued till 4 pm, and will centered on national issues in America like racism and division. The leaders prayed for recognition of role of church in bringing unity, brotherhood, and community transformation through intercession. Some of the ministers who led the event were Anne Graham Lotz, Tony Perkins, Jonathan Cahn, Harry Jackson, Jr., Jim Garlow, and Doug Stringer, among many others.
In Los Angeles, Bethel church collaborated with Lou Engle's The Call to commemorate 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street Outpouring at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for Azusa Now. The LA prayer annual event started in 1906, when God moved powerfully in Los Angeles on a small group of believers that resulted in great harvest of souls for Christ. The event became globally known as Azusa Street Revival. Over 100,000 people from different ethnicities, background, denominations gathered for a day in 15 hours of nonstop worship and prayer.
When the country seems to be facing a spiritual crisis manifested in a broken and divided society, church leaders are feeling a need to come together in prayer more and more.
"All across America I am hearing the sound of angry voices, accusation and contention." said Bishop Harry Jackson Jr., Senior Pastor of Maryland Hope Christian Church and founding member of The Reconciled Church Initiative.
However, at the same time the number of prayer gatherings seem to be increasing as well.
"There are more large prayer gatherings in 2016 than I've seen in 26 years of ministry," said David Butts, President of Harvest Prayer Ministries and Chairman of America's National Prayer Committee. "I've seen waves of prayer before but in addition to filling stadiums, this year there is exceptional collaboration among diverse streams of faith."
Bishop Jackson said that Americans have to stand for unity and fight against racism, which he said was driven by 'forces of darkness'.
"We are in a time where there is a desire by the forces of darkness to rip asunder our unity, dignity and cause strife," Jackson said. "We want to focus on honoring the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and inspire others to be bridges of hope," he asserted.
Members of Dr. Martin Luther King's family participated in the Washington event to cry out to God for "repentance, sanctification, and racial reconciliation" of the country, which also featured a special "foot washing and mantle passing" ceremony.
Azusa Now event organizers said that the event in Los Angeles is driven by a deep conviction that God wants to move with the same power and purpose as he moved in 1906 prayer gathering.
"We need a true jubilee of love and mercy to sweep our land," they emphasized. "A dark question looms over our children's future: riots or revival? The only answer is to be found in Christ. Prayer, love, and unity remain the Acts 2 template for breakthrough."
Rachel Holden of The Call, a key organizer of Azusa Now, said that the main goal of the event "is to begin to repair the pain, wounds, and division among different nationalities, denominations, and backgrounds throughout the body of Christ. We want to humbly learn to bless our differences while joining together for worship and the proclamation of the Gospel. Our daring hope for Azusa Now is that the body of Christ would begin, even in a small way, to fulfill the great prayer of Jesus in John 17, to make us one as He is one."
Doug Stringer of Somebody Cares America explained the purpose of uniting so many pastors through United Cry DC 16.
"God has given us each a fishing line, but when we lay down our own agendas to become part of something bigger than ourselves; then God will take our fishing lines and weave them together into a net that is large enough to catch the fallen, rescue the lost, and heal the wounded, and dying in our communities."