While interceding for revival as part of the National Day of Prayer, some Christian leaders said the nation is on cusp of awakening, the precursor being the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though the annual event is usually held in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Capitol on the first Thursday of May, the National Day of Prayer was observed virtually via livestream this year due to the ongoing public health crisis resulting from the coronavirus.
This year's theme verse was Habakkuk 2:14, which reads: "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
Renown worship leader and singer Michael W. Smith punctuated the prayer sessions with songs of praise streamed from his home studio.
Hosted by NDOP chair Kathy Branzell and Will Graham, the grandson of the late evangelist Billy Graham, prayers rose for the U.S. to turn to God, and that the Earth would be filled with the knowledge of God's glory.
Offering prayers for repentance, William Wilson, president of Oral Roberts University, noted that the prophet Habakkuk describes how the plagues and pestilence occurring were unto a divine end.
"The plague, the calamity, the disaster that was coming to Judah would serve the purposes of God in filling the Earth with the knowledge of His glory," Wilson said, explaining that Judah was scattered and they would take the Word of God to pagan peoples and the world would hear about the glory of God through them.
The disaster was used as a forerunner for God's glory.
"Perhaps in our day, God is using the COVID-19 pandemic in the world as a precursor, as a forerunner for a great revival that is coming to the Earth," he said.
"I personally believe that America and our world is at a turning point. The real question is: Where will we turn? Or will we turn at all?"
God promises healing and times of refreshing when His people turn from their sin, he said, referencing the words of the Apostle Peter in Act 3:19.
Considering the coronavirus, when viewed through a microscope the virus has a halo around it that resembles a crown, he said.
"I believe this crown virus must submit to Jesus Christ who is crowned Lord of everything, including every bacteria, every disease, and every virus. When Jesus was on Earth he wore a crown of thorns, breaking the curse for all of time so you and I could be healed," Wilson said.
But the greatest pandemic is not COVID-19 but the spiritual pandemic of sin, he said, and the only cure for it is Jesus Christ.
The ORU president went on to cite the words of General Douglas MacArthur from 1951 who observed: "History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to the ultimate national disaster."
Wilson added: "I believe that we're on the beginning, on the very edge of Great Awakening. God has allowed this plague, I believe, as a precursor, it has preceded Him, and He is going to follow it with an outpouring of His glory around the world if His people turn from their wicked ways and turn to Him."
Bishop Harry Jackson, who leads Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, recounted praying recently in the Oval Office with President Trump for an end to the pandemic.
Expounding on the theme verse for the Day of Prayer, Jackson explained that in order for the knowledge of the glory of the Lord to fill the Earth as the waters cover the sea, wicked people and wickedness must be dug up and removed by God's wrath. Concurrently, righteous people must grow up and righteousness must be exalted, he said.
"We're going to have political leaders in days of revival with right motives and that they're going to come from the church to change the world and that we're once again going to want to serve God and to see his glory revealed," he said of the prophet Habakkuk wisdom for America today.