Days before the opening of the Democratic National Convention, thousands of Christians converged in Charlotte on Sunday to repent and pray for revival in the face of what they see as a "national crisis."
"Forgive us as the church for our own unrighteousness, for our apathy, for our complacency, and not being the salt and light that we are intended to be," said Bryn Waddell, a traveling Charlotte minister, at the event held at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.
Organizers of Charlotte714, which takes its name from the Bible verse 2 Chronicles 7:14, have emphasized that the gathering – estimated to have drawn some 9,000 – was nonpartisan and not political. The aim was simply to have people praying for the city and the nation.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 reads: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.")
"Our desire is an inner brokenness leading toward an outward move of God in America beginning in our own hearts," organizers said. "We pray it will sweep through the Church, penetrate our city, and impact our nation to Exalt Jesus.
"In a morally degenerating culture, God is calling His church to return to Him."
David Benham, the chief organizer of Charlotte714, told The Christian Post in an earlier interview that the purpose of the gathering was to ask God for forgiveness for national sins.
"A lot of things going on in the nation right now and it's the role of the church to remember who we are and the bedrock of the church is Jesus Christ," he said.
Thant McManus, senior pastor at Evangel Worship Center, believes they're "in the first steps of a great awakening."
"When the church has engaged the culture we've always seen good things happen – whether they took on education, some of the best universities in the world are founded by the church, hospitals, orphanages, all of those things come out of the cultural engagement of the church. But I believe this – that first we have to humble ourselves."
Believers from dozens of churches committed themselves to be "Jesus Revolutionaries." The commitment consists of vowing to spend quality time with God every day in prayer and the Word, boldly confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, win the lost, be a peacemaker, walk in love and overcome evil with good, serve in a tangible way and speak the truth in love.
Rosemary Lozada commented on the movement's Facebook page, "Now is the time to step forward and continue this momentum, continue to pray for Charlotte, continue to pray for our country, continue to pray for those who need Jesus and continue to pray for Israel. With Jesus all things are Possible! Thank You Charlotte714 for your commitment to our City & People. God bless you all!!!"
Charlotte714 is being touted as a movement and not an event. Prayer groups are being organized to continuously meet around Charlotte metro. Churches have also been encouraged to adopt the 56 delegations meeting in Charlotte this week to uplift them in prayer and provide any assistance during their stay.
Tuesday marks the start of the DNC where President Barack Obama will again accept the Democratic nomination for president.