- (Photo: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)
"Cry Out America," which is part of the Awakening America Alliance, has scheduled a national prayer event for Sept. 11, 2012, in memorial of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that targeted America.
The initiative, which seeks to proclaim the Gospel and strengthen America's unity through prayer and faith in God, will be held across several U.S. cities.
"At the time the terrorist attack happened, everybody was coming together. And now they're separated again, so we need to come together more often and ... pray for one another all the time. But we really need to remember that because [9/11] was a tragic thing that happened to us," said the Rev. Lawrence Cook, pastor of Living Vine Worship Center in Orangeburg, S.C., where the "Cry Out America" event takes place at 7 p.m. in Centennial Park in Edisto Memorial Gardens
"People are still upset about it, but the only thing that will give us relief is prayer," Cook continued. "A lot of people are getting away from prayer, but prayer works."
Martha Stevenson, a spokesperson for Cry Out America, confirmed that this year they have 867 county coordinators, 32 state coordinators and more than 1,735 church and ministry partners, including ministries from Nigeria, Africa, and Bangalore, India.
In Orangeburg and at other locations, pastors from different denominations will speak to those gathered to pray.
"We'll have preachers from different denominations. That's why I didn't have the event in a church. It's not a denominational thing. It's a community act, and that's what we want," Cook insisted, as reported by the Times and Democrat. He shared that the event has been growing every year.
"Our nation needs prayer. If we don't bind together and pray, what else do we have?" Cook asked.
"Cry Out America" Coordinator Wally Ziolo from Fairfield County, Ohio, noted that with this being an election year for the presidency, the 9/11 event might take a slightly different approach, Lancaster Eagle Gazette reported.
"We're doing something different this year. With this being an election year, we thought it would be a good time to remember we are a nation formed with prayer," Ziolo said. "This year, we are going to provide prayers from former presidents."
While the former presidents themselves won't be present at the event, the organizer noted that several ministers and lay people from churches would read them out aloud during the event.
"After 9/11 we all turned to God and prayer to help us through it, but I think in the last few years, without attacks and threats, we have drifted away from prayer. This will be an event based in prayer to ask God to continue to bless our country," Ziolo added.
On their official website, "Cry Out America" organizers state: "WE NEED EVERY STATE, EVERY COUNTY, EVERY CHURCH, AND EVERY HEART CRYING OUT FOR AMERICA ON 9/11/12." It is unclear how many total participants are expected for the national prayer event.
The Awakening America Alliance describes its purpose as working to "provide a broad umbrella under which the body of Christ in America can unite together in seeking a contemporary spiritual awakening."