Millions of people have participated in the hugely popular prayer and fasting movement called TheCall which has had events across the United States and around the world.
On Aug. 16, the movement will hit the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to pray for revival and the nation to change ahead of the historic November presidential election. The expected number of participants: 1 million.
TheCall founder Lou Engle spoke to The Christian Post last week about the much-anticipated D.C. event and how participants will pray for the election and political issues.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
CP: I often hear Christian leaders mention TheCall with great excitement. Can you tell me what makes TheCall so exciting and how it is different from other prayer and revival initiatives?
Engle: Well, I'm thrilled about every prayer and revival initiative, and they all have their part and place. But TheCall springs from the Book of Joel where the nation is in deep trouble and in a crisis. And the prescription to that crisis is Joel 2: blow the trumpet, gather all the inhabitants of the land…proclaim a fast, let the leaders - the young and the old - come together and let them cry before God and repent and then God would turn and pour out his spirit.
So it really is God's prescription during times of crisis – a united, massive gathering of fasting and prayer. And it is in this context that God says, "Drop your denomination, your race, your age barriers and gather together to me in a particular way" and He will answer those prayers of a united gathering.
And that is the vision of TheCall before the election of 2000. And now here coming up in 2008 we are in I believe a moral crisis of a huge magnitude in America. And leaders across America are saying there isn't a lot of hope in the political realm, there isn't a lot of hope anywhere. We need divine intervention. With this crisis, we are blowing the trumpet and calling the nation to fasting and prayer.
CP: The first TheCall D.C. occurred in fall 2000 during an election year, and again this movement will be held in D.C. in August before another historic election year. Do you purposely hold a D.C. event every election year? And what do you pray for in terms of the election?
Engle: We don't purposely hold gatherings before elections, but this one I felt was so critical because the ideologies that are being promoted through different candidates have the implications just like in 2000.
The implications are huge for the issues of abortion, issue of marriage, or the kind of judges that don't keep opening the door to the legality of every kind supposed freedom – which is really no freedom. It is really licensing to break away from the foundational moral principle upon which society will really flourish.
We are in crisis I believe in this election. And that is part of the reason we're holding this.
Another reason is we did seven TheCalls and then we raised up a prayer movement the last three-and-a-half years praying for the ending of abortion and the healing of mothers. We believe this is not just another social issues, this is an issue on the par of slavery. The shedding of innocent blood - Abraham Lincoln understood the civil war to be God's discipline on a nation because of the shedding of the blood of the slave.
If 600,000 men died on the battlefield of the civil war what will that mean to America if there is the discipline that comes because of the shedding of the blood of 50 million babies, let alone the broken lives of so many millions of women.
We believe we are at a critical moment and this election could redefine the forward movement of judges that could take us back to a law that protects the innocent and the mothers. So that is part of the critical thing we will be praying about.
CP: So will you be praying for a specific candidate or just for the issue of abortion?
Engle: We will not be praying for any candidate or against any candidate. But our declaration is that abortion is not a political issue, it is a moral issue and we are praying that God will raise up candidates that will hold high values on the life of the unborn. And so we will cry out, "Give us judges, give us a candidate, give us a president who will stand for life." And obviously some of the statements that these candidates have made really are…we are really in a defining moment.
CP: In your opinion, has faith and the moral climate of the nation become worse since TheCall began eight years ago?
Engle: Well, yes…I've been watching [on TV] the Mississippi river overflow. The moral levees, which are really the boundaries that bring restraint to moral decline, the levees have broken and the flood has been let loose.
Once you legalize evil, the evil is empowered and it takes ground. Whereas before law restrained evil now it allows it to go unfettered and it begins to be like a flood. So you have right now in California the Supreme Court just legalized homosexual marriage. Well immediately after that you begin to see on your television screen upcoming issues concerning transgender marriage. And the tide will not stop once we open the door.
I believe the death culture have been fueled by the law 1973 Roe v. Wade. What you sow you reap. And what we are beginning to reap is a death culture. From the perspective of God each one of those [babies] are a dream, and he has had 50 million dreams shattered.
This thing is beginning to run out of control and when nations come to this place where there really is no law but it is just freedom – everybody gets freedom to do anything whether it is legalize pornography on down the line.
CP: How will you present the California same-sex marriage ruling to your D.C. TheCall attendees? What will you urge the attendees to pray for?
Engle: In 2002, I was led on an extraordinary season of fasting and prayer for 40 days. At the end of those 40 days, I was speaking in San Francisco of the coming showdown – I was speaking about the Elijah-Jezebel showdown – the homosexual movement and agenda that was coming forward.
At the end of my message a man had come in, the newly elected mayor of San Francisco, at the end of my message the pastor asked him to share something. They asked me to pray for him and I said, "Lord, I thank you that all government is derived from your government. Therefore let this man know that he will be held accountable for everything he does in this city under the government of God."
I was stunned by this encounter. Now here we are, six years later and he is on the front page of the news saying, "The door is now open. It is inevitable – as California goes, so goes the nation that these homosexual marriages will sweep all across America."
My spirit is stirred because we will be holding TheCall in California on Nov. 1, three days before the election. I believe we are in that showdown and it is a call to the Church to appeal to a higher government than the government of men. So we will pray this.
I was given a dream that a massive prayer movement would take place and it would be for the salvation, for the deliverance, and healing of the homosexuals, for the love of God to be poured out on them, for the transformation of their life and the healing of AIDS.
We are going to be calling a nationwide 40 day fast, like the one I did, in California and we are going to call tens of thousands of believers to fast and pray in a season of 40 days praying for God's spirit to poured out, healing, transformation and healing of AIDS.
We are not coming pointing the finger with anger at the homosexuals, but we do believe that what is taking place here with these bills is fueled by another realm. It is a spiritual realm of power of darkness.
Spiritual power of darkness seeking to release ideologies that destroy lives, families, nations, and on that day, Nov. 1, we are going to pray and resist with the power of the cross – God hold back these power that's seeking to be released. We are standing and saying God have mercy, hold these things back so that the definition of marriage can be sustained in this nation for our children and our children sake.
That is what we will be praying as well as with for the great spiritual awakening that churches will turn back to God.