Saturday, September 26 was a busy day for evangelicals, as Americans from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. and online to pray for the country and to lift up the lives of preborn babies as part of the National Day of Prayer and Return.
In an official statement, President Donald Trump said, “From the pilgrims who sought His protection aboard the Mayflower to the countless believers who today bow their heads to ask for His guidance during these unprecedented times, our country continues to turn to the Lord. Following in our ancestors’ footsteps we continue the ‘firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence that provides us enduring strength and reassurance in our times of need.”
It started with The Return, an all-day event on the National Mall with the mission of “revival by individual, national, and global repentance.”
Featuring dozens of speakers, including Secretary Ben Carson, Anne Graham Lotz, Pat Robertson, Mike Lindell, Alveda King, Kevin and Sam Sorbo and many others, thousands showed up in person and online to pray for the nation.
During his opening address, Jonathan Cahn, the co-chair of the event, said, “We’ve witnessed the darkest year. A year in which the world, and specifically America, has been shaken. This is not a rally, it’s not a seminar, it’s a sacred assembly. This is an appointed gathering at an appointed place at an appointed time.”
Franklin Graham, the CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, also held a Washington Prayer March from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building. Throughout the March there were designated locations where people participating, in Washington D.C. and online, could pray for specific topics, like preborn life, the nation’s troops, religious freedom and the nation itself.
“I think everyone understands and knows that our country is in trouble,” Graham said. “The Democrats understand that, the Republicans understand that, but it doesn’t seem like anyone knows how to fix the problems that we face as a nation. I believe the number one problem is a spiritual problem. We’ve turned our back on God. We’ve taken God out of our schools—we’ve taken Him out of our government. The purpose of this march is to pray for our nation. This is not a political rally. It’s a prayer march to pray for all of the people who work in Washington, D.C. and lead our government. It’s my hope and my prayer that God will shake this city and this nation. Our only hope is God.”
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, made a surprise appearance at the Lincoln Memorial at the start of the march. The vice president stated, “When the president and I travel around the country, the sweetest words we ever hear, and we hear them a lot, are when people reach out and simply say ‘I’m praying for you.’”
The stop at the National Archives featured Andrew Brunson, the American pastor who was held in a Turkish prison for two years as part of a purge post a coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The religious freedom that we have in this country is very rare,” Brunson said. “People take it for granted because they have not experienced the persecution that many countries in the world have.”
To cap off the day, Focus on the Family aired See Life Clearly, a pro-life event featuring a 4D ultrasound of a preborn baby.
“The fight for life continues,” president of Focus on the Family Jim Daly said. “It’s time to recognize that the struggle for life is real. And as the battle for truth rages, science and technology are on our side. It’s time to see this defense of preborn life as the civil rights issue of our day. It’s time to see life, as you’ve never seen it before.”
Retired NFL player Mike Singletary, one of the guest speakers, shared about his own personal story about how his parents were encouraged to abort him, but decided to ignore the doctors’ recommendations.
“It’s really interesting that when you begin to talk about the man’s role in this,” Singletary said. “I just think that, as a man, the best thing that you can do in a situation (like an unplanned pregnancy) is to offer your support. ‘I don’t really know how to go forward, but I’m here so let me know what I can do to help.’”
As President Trump stated, “The trials and tribulations the American people have faced over the past several months have been great. Yet, as we have seen time and again, the resolve of our citizenry—fortified by our faith in God—has guided us through these hardships and helped to unite us as one Nation under God. As we continue to combat the challenges ahead of us, we must remember the sage words of President George Washington during his first Presidential Address: ’propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.’ As a country and a people, let us renew our commitment to these abiding and timeless principles.
“Today, I am pleased to join my voice to yours in thanking God for blessing this nation with great power and responsibility. With reverence, humility, and thanksgiving, we beg for His continued guidance and protection.”
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