Unity and revival are at the heart of Bradley County Cry Out America’s efforts to have as many pastors and churches as possible involved in this year’s event.
Pastors and other community leaders were given an overview of ways to get involved in the effort to create a prayer movement of awakening during a pastors’ luncheon Thursday.
Cry Out America this year will go beyond the Sept. 11, 7 p.m. event at the Lee University Conn Center to a week of intense prayer for this country, county and younger generations.
“This is not an event to commemorate what happened on 9/11 a few years back. It is an event to ask God to forgive us for forgetting him. We have been disobedient and we have walked away from Him and we are reaping what we’ve sown as a nation,” said co-chair Phil Griffin, pastor of The Church at Gracepoint. “We just don’t pray as we should.”
Griffin encouraged those present to partner with him in providing prayer for the community in the week leading up to the event. He and The Church at Gracepoint are organizing churches to have a prayer tent on the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday through Wednesday, and for four hours on Thursday.
He said there are four days for which he still need church sponsors.
“Today’s dream awakens tomorrow’s destiny,” is the theme for this year.
“Our dream is to see a movement birthed that will become a strategic and ongoing rhythm of prayer. We believe a movement of this nature will help turn the tide of our nation, and more importantly we hope it will turn the tide for the rising generations,” co-chair Iris Ray said.
Ray asked church members to consider ‘prayer walking’ a two-mile radius around their church and to prayer walk the schools closest to their church.
“We are asking you to put some steps to your prayers,” Ray said.
In keeping with this year’s theme of praying for younger generations, two Lee University students shared how prayer had impacted their life. For Zach Clevenger, the fact that he was born was an answer to his parents’ prayers.
“Prayer does change lives,” he said.
Student Kendra Hause said groups of students come together to pray in the North Cleveland Church of God prayer room on a regular basis.
“We have seen 500-plus kids be completely transformed by the Gospel and be trained to be sent out,” Hause said.
The students will be leading 24/7 prayer for the week leading up to Sept. 11. Hause asked local churches to consider committing to providing music for a specific night and joining the students in prayer.
Ray said she had a dream recently that emphasized the importance of these efforts not being just for an event, but to start a movement of people crying out to God.
“Our nation was founded by men and women of prayer. These men and women understood that appealing to heaven was our only hope to survive as a nation, and our only hope of peace,” Ray said.
She said the same need to pray was present today.
“A lot of times we pray and then we stop. We think that is the action … (but) we pray so that we can get ready, so God will use us that we can go into action,” said Mickey Clark, associate pastor to students at The Church at Gracepoint.
He highlighted partnering with the upcoming Fields of Faith event arose through a connection to Cry Out America. The Fields of Faith student event is a night of worship being held Oct. 1 at 6 p.m., at Walker Valley High School.
Clark asked the church leaders present to partner with and support the event.
He also challenged those present to join him in providing encouragement to teachers through breakfast or lunch on Sept. 11.
Candies Creek Church Pastor Jamie Work also encouraged pastors from different churches to join in prayer. Work said groups that are already meeting and creating unity among churches in the area.
“God is in the process of uniting his church under the banner of Jesus Christ,” Work said. “I think if you want to get in on that and you are a pastor, I would encourage you to ask God to give you some folks who aren’t of the same tribe as you are.”
Cry Out America is a part of the Awakening America Alliance.