It was a sight to behold inside a conference ballroom at the downtown Marriott hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, as hundreds of Iowa pastors called out to God and prayed over two U.S. senators, both of whom seem interested in running for president of the United States.
Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul came to Iowa Friday to speak at this Pastors and Pews event, organized by influential evangelical political operative David Lane. The Brody File got an up-close look and access to the private event.
Cruz, who received a warm greeting, spoke for about 30 minutes and then took questions from the audience. He outlined how he championed religious freedom cases ranging from the Ten Commandments to the Mojave Cross case. He touched on how to go about eliminating Obamacare; he called for abolishing the IRS (which received a standing ovation), and on the issue of marriage he said, “There’s no issue where we need to be more on our knees … we are facing an assault on marriage.”
On spiritual matters, he told the pastors that, “We are in a battle to turn this country around.” Later, in a one-on-one sit-down interview with The Brody File, he said this country is badly in need of spiritual revival. He charged the pastors to step up and speak boldly about the issues facing our country today. He compared all of them to Esther, saying the biblical woman was put in a position of leadership, “for such a time as this.”
Afterwards, pastors gathered around Cruz and his father (who was on hand for the conference) to pray for them.
As for Paul, he spoke for about 20 minutes and then the pastors prayed for the senator and his wife, Kelly. Paul spent the bulk of his time explain how liberty, freedom and virtue go hand in hand. His biggest applause lines came when he talked about his dedication to the pro-life issue and how he believes America needs to cut off aid to countries that hate America.
He briefly addressed his foreign policy views, explaining that we should be focused on peace not war. He invoked the name of Jesus saying how He says in the Bible, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” However, he made clear that he was not against war and if war was necessary, he would make sure America would win it decisively.
There’s no doubt Paul and Cruz have begun thinking about running for president in 2016 and this event was a chance to introduce themselves to a pivotal group of pastors who will play a significant role in the presidential selection process since Iowa is always the first state in the nation to vote. However, the main goal of the two-day conference was to really motivate pastors to speak boldly about issues from the pulpit and to awake Christian voters, who may agree that America’s culture is going in the toilet, but sit on their hands and do nothing about it.
While getting more evangelicals to the polls is a political goal of the conference, there is a much deeper spiritual purpose. These pastors want to see spiritual revival in America. Speaker after speaker implored them to simply preach the word from the Bible and leave the outcome to God.
A big theme was praying for another Great Awakening in this country but the pastors here agreed that it could only come if evangelicals truly repent and get down on their knees in prayer. In other words, there won’t be any Great Awakening if Christians don’t get serious in their prayer life.