As part of our “America at the Crossroads” series, BGEA writers are reporting from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, as well as Republican National Convention last week in Tampa.
Volunteer Andre Johnson of Cairo, Ill., spent much of Wednesday in the DNC prayer room either with his head bowed or on his knees in between shifts shining shoes at the Charlotte Convention Center.
The upcoming election, the issue of traditional marriage, and the stagnant economy are weighing heavily on his heart.
“This is a critical time in our nation,” said Johnson. “The Bible says in Matthew 6:33 to ‘Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’
“Now more than ever our nation needs to seek God, to turn back to God,” said Johnson, who attends an Assembly of God church in Illinois.
“I pray that America will fast and mourn for its sins,” he added.
Johnson is not alone. New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera, who is a first-time delegate to the DNC, said, “There is a grip of darkness coming upon the land which is not going to lift up unless people return to true fasting and prayer, and turn away from their wicked ways.”
Cabrera and his wife Elvia, started an evangelical church called New Life Outreach International in the Bronx in 1988. As a pastor, he has led his congregation toward community action against violence, implemented youth leadership programs, and offered free drug rehabilitation services and support groups.
“In the 31 years I’ve been a Christian,” said Cabrera, “I have never seen so many Christians asking God for a revival. I think that the burden of the Lord is coming upon the people, and they’re getting to a place where they say government can only do so much.
“Unless we in the church change, nothing is going to change,” he continued. “So I think it’s time to arise and get involved. Things are not going to change by themselves. Complaining to the darkness is not going to change anything. We have to bring the light and we have to get involved because if we don’t, we are going to see an erosion of religious rights.”
When Cabrera arrived in Charlotte this past weekend, he participated in an event called Charlotte714 during which thousands of Christians gathered to pray for a spiritual revival of the country.
“I was really touched by the event,” said Cabrera. “Pastors let go of egos, of pride, and came together and worked together.”
Charlotte714, which drew its name from 2 Chronicles 7:14, received support from more than 80 churches, said organizer David Benham.
Explaining the vision for the nondenominational, nonpartisan event, Benham said, “Our moral and spiritual decline in America is the direct result of the light hiding under a bushel and the salt sitting in the salt shaker.”
According to Benham, America is in a state of spiritual emergency. “Like the churches warned in Revelation, we have become lukewarm and compromised, and the light of our witness has grown dim.”
Despite having access to more biblical teaching than any other group of believers in history, said Benham, “We are not characterized by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. And we acknowledge our lack of widespread impact for Christ on our lost and disintegrating culture.”
Barbara Peacock, a DNC delegate and minister of prayer at The Park Church in Charlotte, said that for over a decade, the passage in 2 Chronicles 7:14 has been the cry of her heart.
Up and on her knees each day of the convention at 6 a.m., Peacock is committed to the call and the discipline of prayer: “We are praying for this convention. We pray for this president. We pray for the delegates and those visiting our city. We pray for the spirit of God to continue to bless our nation.”
Peacock believes America is “in a time that needs healing. We are believing God for a transformation and change in the country. We have a responsibility to pray for those in authority.”
No citizen in America can point a finger unless they pray, she added. “If people pray, you will see a difference in leadership. God is the God of America no matter who is in the White House.”
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