Monday, July 09, 2007

55,000 answer 'The Call'

55,000 answer 'The Call'

By Mark Kelly

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The sins of a nation drew an estimated 55,000
believers to Nashville July 7 to convene a "solemn assembly" and pray for
spiritual awakening among America's young people.

Christians from all 50 states and countries as far away as Nepal and
Mongolia gathered in Nashville's riverfront LP Field for The Call -- 12
hours of worship and prayer they hoped would spark a renewal movement that
would sweep the country.

The nondenominational event marked 40 years since the "Summer of Love" in
San Francisco unleashed a wave of sexual promiscuity, drug abuse, abortion
on demand and pornography in the country and separated a generation of
Americans from God, organizers said.

Public confession and repentance was a hallmark of the day, as a series of
individuals testified about the havoc those sins had wreaked in their lives
and publicly prayed for forgiveness -- both individually and on behalf of
the nation.

Sam Brownback, a Republican senator from Kansas and GOP presidential
contender, greeted the crowd when the meeting opened at 10 a.m., affirming
that he shared their convictions about the sanctity of life and the need for
spiritual renewal in America. Popular musicians like Ricky Skaggs, Michael
W. Smith and Jeff Deo echoed Brownback's concerns and performed for the

The Nashville event also commemorated 40 years since the youth revival
called the Jesus Movement swept America -- and organizers hoped it would
spark a similar movement for another generation.

"America is a sleeping nation. We have casually and nonchalantly let things
slide and get worse," said Morgan Blount, a staff member of The Call from
Dallas. "We are calling for young people in this country to wake up and take
a stand, to pray about our world instead of just complaining about what's
wrong with it. We are calling them to take action and believe that the Lord
can change things."

Prayer is the key to spiritual awakening, said Adam Thomas, a staff member
of The Call from Louisville, Ky.

"This weekend was about prayer, whether you are Baptist or Catholic or
Church of Christ. We believe that prayer changes things," Thomas said. "Our
desire is to see God come back on the scene like He did in the 1800s, when
there was a great awakening that shut down entire towns with the power of

"I believe that a movement of prayer is going to unlock these things for
America. We believe history belongs to the intercessors. Ezekiel 22:30 tells
us God is looking for a company of people who will stand in the gap in
prayer so the country will not have to be destroyed. We want to be like the
widow in Luke 17 who kept pressing the judge until he gave her what she

As midday temperatures soared near 100 degrees, worshipers lifted their
hands in prayer. The stadium floor was sectioned off for those who wanted
the freedom to prostrate themselves or kneel in prayer.

Many of those in attendance had fasted for up to 40 days in preparation.
Prayerwalkers left Nashville's Centennial Park at 7 a.m. and made their way
in silence through downtown to the stadium.

To symbolize their desire for America to return to a covenant relationship
with God, three couples simultaneously exchanged marriage vows late in the

Organizer Lou Engle, who initiated The Call in Washington, D.C., in 2000,
chose the date -- 7/7/07 -- because seven is the biblical number of

"In the Old Testament, the cult of Baal was identified with violence and
death, sexual promiscuity, pornography and promiscuity," said Dutch Sheets,
senior pastor of Springs Harvest Fellowship in Colorado Springs, Colo. "We
are here today to confess our nation's sin and ask God to renew His covenant
with us. This stadium is a courtroom today. We have filed for divorce as a
nation from the spirit of Baal, and we are petitioning God for custody of
our children."

The event was broadcast live over the Internet at and Christian
television networks like God TV, TBN, DayStar and Inspiration Network also
carried part of the proceedings to as many as 200 countries.

The evening closed with 300 men -- the number of Gideon's biblical army --
blowing the shofar while those in the stands shouted.

"That was the highlight for me," said Julia Richardson, spokeswoman for the
event. "You could feel the presence of the Lord. In the sound of the shofar,
we pray our destinies are released and that the city of Nashville would see
a new wave of the Lord."

Future gatherings are planned later this year for Las Vegas, Kansas City,
Atlanta, Orlando, Detroit and Berkeley, Calif. An assembly is scheduled for
Washington, D.C., in August 2008.


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