Thousands Convene to Repent in Nation's Capital

Thousands convened Saturday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for four hours of worship, prayer and personal repentance.

Hosted by Arizona pastor Walt Kallestad and his daughter, Shawn-Marie Cole, the ReignDown event was broadcast live on God TV and on the Internet, and was simulcast to 116 satellite venues nationwide. “We need to cry out and repent, to turn from our wicked lives,” Cole told the crowd.

The event was the result of a vision in which Cole saw “seas of people, crying out to [God], saying, ‘Lord, we need you.’” Christian musician Michael W. Smith led worship times, which were interspersed with prayers of repentance and Scripture readings by Kallestad, Cole and Cindy Jacobs, co-founder of Generals International with her husband, Mike. “I believe God wants to change my life tonight,” Jacobs told the crowd. “We’ve got to first remove what’s in our own eyes.”

Participants were led in repenting of such issues as racial division and spiritual apathy, and were encouraged to seek God about individual concerns. Prayer tents were stationed throughout the Mall for people to seek personal prayer ministry.

“Most of the people here [seeking prayer] are Christians, but they’re tormented [by] divorce, mental conditions, husbands leaving,” said Sarah Townsend, an intercessor from Alexandria, Minn., who was one of at least 60 prayer counselors on hand at the event. “The body of Christ is sick.”

Actor and evangelist Stephen Baldwin and Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona were among the event’s special guests. Both men said their purpose for attending was simply to call the nation—and the church—back to God. “More than anyone else, the body of Christ needs to turn its heart back to the Lord,” Baldwin told Charisma.

“When you look at the messages and the media—‘your best life now’—there really isn’t a message of following Christ and counting the cost of repentance. The gospel has become this other thing. There will be a revival, and there will be a movement of the Spirit that reminds everyone of that,” he said.

Jacobs said she believes ReignDown is a continuation of a holiness revival that began last fall. “We’ve been praying for another holiness movement, and we’re in it,” she said. “The presence of God is going to visit us so much, He’s going to clean us up—a supernatural sanctification of holiness.”

At the close of the event, Jacobs prayed that God would rain down His healing power: “We speak creative miracles—be healed in Jesus’ name. Get up out of wheelchairs, blind eyes be opened. … AIDS, leave … schizophrenia, leave. … bipolar disorder, go.”

Kallestad, senior pastor of Community Church of Joy in Glendale, Ariz., said testimonies were flooding in from people worldwide who watched the event on God TV. He said there were reports of healings and other miracles. “People got out of wheelchairs,” Kallestad said. “We were told by God TV that they never had such a real-time response. God was just so good.”

ReignDown is one of several prayer events being organized this year. On the same day as ReignDown, roughly 6,000 intercessors prayed at state Supreme Court buildings across the United States, and a team including Jacobs and Lou Engle, founder of TheCall and the Justice House of Prayer, prayed at the U.S. Supreme Court building. Thursday, May 1, marks the National Day of Prayer, and the Global Day of Prayer is being held May 11. In August, Christians are expected to again gather in Washington, D.C., for TheCall.

Engle said in a season “of such crisis,” God is mobilizing solemn assemblies that impact different segments of the church. TheCall will be hosting another prayer event on the National Mall on Aug. 16. “We’re going after the national sins,” Engle said. “We are coming believing that abortion’s going to end and the greatest adoption movement of the church is coming.”

A website, RepentBelieve.com, has been established to continue ReignDown’s mission of calling people to repentance and faith in Christ. “We believe God’s message to the church is repentance,” Kallestad said. “The reason He’s doing that is there’s no revival without repentance. Nothing happens without His dealing with the log in our own eyes.” 

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