WASHINGTON (BP)–Thousands of Christians gathered on the National Mall Oct. 22 to pray for the United States.
The multi-ethnic, interdenominational event, known as “America for Jesus,” focused on prayer and fasting for God’s protection of the country and repentance for such sins as abortion and prejudice. Though it occurred less than two weeks before the Nov. 2 election, the 16-hour rally was a nonpartisan event, organizers said.
The rally was the fourth in a series of prayer events that have been held every eight years, beginning with the Washington for Jesus rally in 1980.
The country’s need “is greater now than in 1980,” said John Gimenez, chief organizer of the rallies and pastor of Rock Church International in Virginia Beach, Va.
“The house is on fire. … [T]his nation is in trouble, and one group isn’t going to [save it],” Gimenez told Baptist Press. “There’s only one name; there’s only one Christ; there’s only one church. And to save the nation … we’d better come together.”
Among the speakers were singer Pat Boone, National Association of Evangelicals President Ted Haggard, author Peter Marshall, Exodus International Executive Director Alan Chambers, Pentecostal pastor Rod Parsley and Norma McCorvey, “Jane Roe” in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and now a pro-life Christian.
Organizers for the rally, which began at 6 a.m., estimated the audience on the mall grew to about 25,000 in the evening. The Washington Times estimated the crowd at 5,000. In the morning, the audience was noticeably smaller than the one at the Mayday for Marriage event held in the same location Oct. 15. Estimates for that event ranged from 60,000 to 210,000. The National Park Service does not estimate attendance at mall events.
Organizers said the rally was telecast to more people internationally than any Christian event in history.