PITTSBURGH (BP) — The interdenominational Christian group “In God We Trust” has collected more than 97,000 signatures in petitioning President Donald Trump to declare Sept. 11 an annual day of prayer, fasting and repentance.
Driven by II Chronicles 7:14, the initiative seeks to “redeem the day” of Sept. 11, 2001, from the evil that took nearly 3,000 lives, and to return it to a confidence in God, said Don Black, founder of the two-year-old “In God We Trust” ministry leading the initiative.
“With the growing threat of terror at home and around the world, this is the time for Christians to act,” said Black, who is also president and CEO of Cornerstone Television Network (CTVN). “We must reclaim our nation and return it to its original intent. If we miss this opportunity, it may be gone forever.”
Southern Baptists supporting the effort include former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; Richard Lee, president of There’s Hope America and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference; Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas; David Jeremiah, Shadow Mountain Community Church, El Cajon, Calif.; and Kay Arthur, founder and president of Precept Ministries International.
The group’s online petition received 97,500 signatures through Aug. 30, Black said. A small group is working to get the petition to Trump’s desk, he noted.
Huckabee, in a promotional video on the In God We Trust Facebook page, encourages Christians to support the effort and sign the petition at InGodWeTrust.tv.
“I hope you’ll join me in praying that on 9/11, our entire nation will come together in asking God for His intervention in this country,” Huckabee said. “And let’s pray that the president, President Trump, joins us in that effort.”
Huckabee and Arthur are featured in a 30-minute video on the initiative viewable at InGodWeTrust.tv/watch, and at various times on more than 10 television stations supporting the effort, Black said. Recording artist and actress Jaci Velasquez is host. In God We Trust will mark 9/11 with four livestreamed broadcasts including focused prayer and worship, and airing on CTVN, CTVN.org, InGodWeTrust.tv, and Facebook live. A national telephone town hall will also be available, Black said.
The inclusion of fasting sets the effort apart from previous 9/11 prayer initiatives and the National Day of Prayer held annually in May, Black told Baptist Press.
He described fasting as fuel that “turbo charges prayer,” referencing Jesus’ declaration in Mark 9:29 that “this kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
Black expressed confidence that all Christian calls to prayer can work together for the good of the country.
“This isn’t preemptive to any other prayer effort,” he said. “What we’re doing is we’re bringing together a group for unified prayer and targeted prayer. And others may be doing that too, and I’m excited.
“Let’s all do it,” Black said. “Let’s every church, let’s every denomination, let’s every parachurch organization, let’s every individual Christian fall on our knees on 9/11 and say to the Lord God, heal our land.”
No U.S. president has called the nation to prayer, fasting and repentance since Woodrow Wilson made the call during World War I in 1918.
“Now he wasn’t noted for being the most spiritual man in the world, Woodrow Wilson,” Black said, “but he saw that need and he made the proclamation.”
The petition to Trump declares, “With your leadership, we will unite and humble ourselves before the Benevolent Hand of Almighty God, and ask Him to keep our nation, the United States of America, her leadership, citizens, armed forces, and first responders, safe from attack both from radical foreign enemies and domestic ideologies that are dedicated to our destruction.”
While the petition specifically requests the national designation for 2017, Black told BP he is seeking an annual observance.
“I’ve asked that he could proclaim it as an annual day of prayer and fasting and repentance, but that would be … the president’s choice,” Black said. “If he doesn’t do it at all, we’re thankful that [nearly] 100,000 people have raised their hands that they agree.”
In addition to CTVN, 11 Christian broadcast networks and a host of denominational leaders are on board, Black said, including Daystar, WBPI-TV 49, CTN, SON, LFTV and TCT.
Among supporters are Samuel Rodriguez, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president; Perry Stone, leader of Voice of Evangelism Ministries; and Alveda King, director of Civil Rights for the Unborn for Priests for Life. Also supporting the outreach is Rabbi Daniel Lapin, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi known for his support of Judeo-Christian outreaches.