As America marks the seventh anniversary of the infamous 9/11 terrorist attacks, Christians throughout the nation are being encouraged to cry out in prayer for America.
And at 12 noon, hundreds of believers are expected to unite in simultaneous nationwide prayer at their county courthouses to mark this significant day in America's history with powerful intercession for every state, every county and every citizen.
"2008 is a spiritually critical year for our nation," said Billy Wilson, chairman of the Awakening America Alliance (AAA), which organized a sacred assembly in New York on the eve of Sept. 11. "The current condition of America demands united and decisive action. We need more than one positive election, more than one court decision, more than one good series of sermons – we must experience a new national awakening in our generation."
Ahead of Thursday's state-to-state prayer gatherings, the "Cry Out America" sacred assembly Wednesday night drew believers from across denominations and featured a number of well-known Christian leaders as speakers, including Ron Luce, founder of TeenMania, and Larry Stockstill, senior pastor of Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, La. In addition to those gathered at the Crenshaw Christian Center East in New York, many more in America and around the world were participating in the event live via broadcast through GOD TV.
"Seven years ago, on 9/11, America received perhaps the greatest physical wake-up call in our generation. In many ways, 9/11 – Sept. 11, 2001, was the JFK assassination moment for our generation," Wilson told the sacred assembly participants.
"Almost every adult in America could tell you where they were and what they were doing on 9/11," he continued. "All of us were shaken to our knees. After what happened at the countryside of Pennsylvania, at the Pentagon and especially here in New York City, America and all of us were touched in a dramatic way."
But more than looking back at the events that forever changed America, Christian leaders at the sacred assembly focused on looking at the present and the future, encouraging sincere prayers of repentance and the many other prayers the country is in desperate need of.
"Tonight, we are here because the American church and the nation we live in is at a spiritual crisis. We need God," Wilson pointed out.
"Church attendance in America is at an all-time low. America is now the third-largest missions nation in the world. Ministerial resignations and moral failures are up, while ministerial commissionings are down," the ministry leader continued.
"One of the largest groups of teenagers in American history is also the most unchristian in our nation's entire history," he added.
At such a time, what's needed for a revival is a movement of prayer, as Dave Butts, chairman of the National Prayer Committee, pointed out. And at the heart of that is repentance.
"How we long for revival …. How we long to see a great awakening in our nation," Butts stated.
But "there's never been a revival without there first of all being a movement of prayer," he added, citing examples in history and in the Bible.
"And at the heart of that movement of prayer is always the issue of repentance – of God's people humbling themselves before Him," he said.
"It's time for us to repent."
Jim Bolin, senior pastor of Trinity Chapel in Powder Springs, Ga., further reminded attendants of the need to return to a posture of love, which he said was one of the greatest needs in the Church today.
"We talk about it (love). We sing about it. We preach out it. We write books about it. But very few of us really do anything with it. Very few of us are really loving one another the way that He loved the Church," Bolin said.
"There is missing from the Church today the well of love," the pastor pointed out.
And before God's love can be effectively shared with those in the world, those in the Church have to love one another first.
"It's gotta begin in the House of God. Amen?" Bolin said. "We need to start loving each other in the Church pew one more time. And if we can do it here, we'll do it out there."
In around 10-minute intervals, each Christian leader took turns preaching and leading the sacred assembly in prayer. Prayer topics included praying for the youth, praying for traditional marriage amendments, praying for those in poverty, and praying for pastors, among others.
Following the 2-hour event, believers were encouraged to partake in Thursday's prayer gatherings at noon – throughout the nation and across the world.
"America is on the brink of a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but this will only happen as we, the Body of Christ, humble ourselves and pray," expressed GOD TV's co-founder and director of television, Wendy Alec, in a released statement.
"[I]t is only through the fervent supplications of the saints that the forces of darkness can be thwarted," she added. "God is calling His people to rise up, for there is a new day and a new hour of God's glory coming to America, that has not been seen yet upon the earth."
The "Cry Out America" sacred assembly will be broadcast again Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.
Also on Thursday, at 8:46 a.m. ET — the exact time that terrorists slammed the first of two jetliners into the World Trade Center – a moment of silence will be observed at the White House.
In New York, Barack Obama and John McCain, the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, respectively, will appear together at ground zero on Thursday to honor the memory of those who died. The campaigns agreed to halt television advertising critical of each other for the day.
On the Web: