Evangelical Christians converged on the nation’s capital for a prayer rally on one of the hottest days of the summer.
With the nation reeling from recent shootings and shocked by news of a terrorist attack in France and an attempted coup in Turkey, speakers at “Together 2016” cited the global events from the stage and spoke of the challenges facing Americans.
“Jesus can heal our nation,” said former Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd to applause and cries of “Amen.” “Jesus can heal relationships. America is like a broken bone that needs to be put back into its correct place in order to experience healing.”
With their calls for prayer and unity, speakers generally focused on spiritual rather than concrete solutions to the nation’s problems. The event had been promoted by Pope Francis and noted by President Barack Obama.
Nick Hall, 34, the leader of the Pulse ministry that organized the event focused on millennials, also addressed the crowd in the shadow of the Washington Monument.
“God, we don’t need to hear from some man or some woman,” he said in an opening prayer. “God we don’t need to hear from some band. We need to hear from heaven today. That’s why we’ve come.”
Others taking the stage included some of the top names in evangelicalism, preachers such as Josh McDowell and Samuel Rodriguez, and Christian artists Lecrae and Hillsong.
Hall, speaking especially to the millennials, said “we want to get the hashtag #JesusChangesEverything trending around the world today.” It became one of the top trending tweets on Twitter.
Many in the crowd joined in as contemporary Christian singer Michael W. Smith sang a song about compassion. As people sweated and fanned themselves, wearing beach hats and hovering under umbrellas, they offered bottles of water and welcomed others to the scant shady spots in earshot of the stage’s speakers and songs.
Though cut short due to the unbearable heat, the event moved methodically through discussions of how to “reset,” with sermons and prayers calling for repentance, prayer, and service. The generation of Facebook and Twitter was urged to put down cellphones and meet people for coffee instead, and to think about people less fortunate than themselves.
Read more at Evangelicals Unite in Prayer in D.C.