On Saturday, September 26th, tens of thousands of Americans from across the country gathered at the National Mall in Washington D.C. The purpose of this congregation was to pray for the country and to repent to God.
The event began with The Return, "a movement, an appointed time, and a specific day set apart for one purpose - the return to God by coming before His presence in humility, in sincerity in prayer, and repentance." The Return was held at the Washington Monument and extended to the Lincoln Memorial where Franklin Graham gave a speech before leading the Washington Prayer March.
The Prayer March would continue for 1.8 miles down to the Capitol building. During the journey, groups and individuals stopped at various areas to pray for the country's first responders, wisdom for the leaders of the government, and to pray for God's mercy and forgiveness. Others broke out in hymns such as "Amazing Grace" and "Blessed Assurance."
The many in attendance came from all around the country to participate. One Kenny Xu, a Chinese-American Baptist came out from New Jersey to pray for racial reconciliation, stating, "I think this country is facing a very odious racial ideology that divides people on the basis of race... I pray this nation can turn back to Jesus and that we can love each other and forgive each other. I think both supposed "sides" have to have a spirit of forgiveness."
Others traveled from much farther locations, such as Renee and Steve Beckwith, a married couple who traveled from Michigan with their children. Renee Beckwith explained in an interview that they had to leave their home church of 14 years to join a new one that remained open during the closing restrictions put in place in Michigan. "It saddened our hearts, and we knew that the church was not strong anymore. We felt that we weren't walking with the Lord strong enough, and so when we're called to stand for something different we don't have that within our hearts," Renee stated.
Her husband Steve also added, "This nation does need to turn back to God. And it's good to see that there are so many other people here standing with us because we don't get to see that on a daily basis."