America won't be saved by a "political awakening," said Pastor Ronnie Floyd, who was among over 40 Christian leaders that came together at The Gathering to pray for a spiritual transformation in the nation.
"Many of us, as believers, at times if we're not careful, we're more committed to some kind of political awakening," said Floyd at the solemn assembly hosted by Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, Wednesday night.
"That's not the answer to this nation. The answer to the nation is the next great awakening with the Holy Spirit of God. And He wakes up the Church and He shakes the Church," added Floyd, who's the senior pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Christian leaders from diverse denominational and racial backgrounds led thousands of believers in prayer for personal repentance, their marriages, families, communities, and for Christians who are persecuted throughout the world.
James Robison, founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, stressed that "there is no substitute for repentance. Not a political party, not a political candidate."
"In election years if you're highly visible and you have an audience and you have any influence, candidates will tend to come to you and ask for your support," Robison said.
"I've made it clear, my entire ministry, I don't endorse candidates. I endorse biblical truth and I endorse the principles in the Word of God."
Robison spoke with concern about the current social climate of the United States, especially the U.S. Supreme Court's role in legalizing abortion and gay marriage via judicial fiat.
"We've reached the point where five people can determine the future of the United States of America," said Robison. "If the Church doesn't come out of the pew and stand up and become the city set on the hill that cannot and must not be hidden, we will be trampled as worthless salt under the feet of men."
Floyd's and Robison's calls for personal and public spiritual revival were echoed by Pastor Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, who served as the main organizer of The Gathering.
Evans told those gathered that the Church is "an immune system" to help fight the ills of society.
"The Church is that immune system designed to keep cultural colds from becoming societal pneumonia," Evans said. "So if you're seeing our nation succumb to pneumonia, it's because the immune system of the church is not up to snuff. It's not acting as the divine repellent."
At the close of the program, Evans went on to note that he saw The Gathering as having a three-pronged agenda for the long-term.
"This is part of a three-pronged pledge. Solemn assembly, a call to discipleship — no more secret agent Christians — and then to work together as churches without compromising truth to do good works to let the community see its better off that our churches are here," Evans said.
"So you pray that God will birth in your heart and in ministries throughout this land a fire that if Christ be not come, we turn a nation around for God and for good."
Christian leaders who led prayer and devotion at The Gathering include Southern Evangelical Seminary President Dr. Richard Land, Pastor Max Lucado, National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson, Priscilla Shirer, Thelma Wells, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Bishop Harry Jackson, and Pastor Ralph Douglas West, among others.
The Gathering's solemn assembly focused on praying for four areas of change in Americans' lives: personal, families, communities and the nation.
"Whenever a solemn assembly or sacred gathering has been called in Scripture, it has usually been called by those in leadership — whether that be a priest, prophet or king — and it has usually been called for leadership first," The Gathering's website states.
"Even in America, our historical records verify that prior to every national awakening, the spiritual leadership of the day has placed a heavy emphasis on gathering in smaller groups for fasting and prayer which then led to larger gatherings and greater change."