African Christians will gather this month to pray for revival in the U.S.
The United States has been sending missionaries to Africa for centuries and now African Christians say they want to return the favor.
On Oct. 16, roughly 50,000 African Christians are expected to gather in Washington, D.C., to pray for revival in the U.S. Organized by the African Strategic Leadership Prayer Network (ASLPN), the Africa Prays for America event on the National Mall will draw immigrant Christians in the U.S., as well as church leaders from across the African continent.Â
"We recognize that America desperately needs revival, and if there's one thing Africa can give and do for America, it's to pray," says Bishop Darlingston Johnson, a native of Liberia who now leads Bethany World Outreach Church in Washington, D.C., and heads the ASLPN.
"That is one thing Africans do and they do well," he adds. "They seek the face of God."
The daylong prayer meeting will feature American ministers such as evangelist T.L. Lowery, Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Global Day of Prayer leader Bob Bakke and Billy Wilson of the Awakening America Alliance, which mobilizes prayer for the nation and is co-sponsoring the event.Â
African church leaders traveling to the U.S. for the prayer service include Ugandan pastor Jackson Senyonga and Nigerian pastor Emmanuel Kure. Pastor James Fadele will represent the Nigeria-based Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest church networks in the world.
Wilson believes the prayer meeting may have great spiritual significance, with the U.S. president tracing his family roots to Africa for the first time ever. But he said, practically speaking, the effort comes at a critical time.
"God has sent thousands of African believers to America on a missionary journey," Wilson says. "If they can unite their prayers together for our nation, these new missionaries to America can possibly help us see a spiritual shift and new awakening."
Johnson, who came to faith through an African-American missionary in Liberia and now leads a network of 200 churches in 24 nations, said there are hundreds of thousands of African Christians who immigrated to the U.S. to better their lives. "But more and more we're realizing God had his own agenda, and we're realizing God did't bring us here so our lives could be more comfortable," he says.
He worries that the U.S. is reaching a point where "evil" such as homosexuality and abortion is being called good. "Unless by the grace of God we can turn the tide and God can give America a Christ awakening, unfortunately this country is going to face judgment," Johnson says. "We don't want to see that. America has been too great a blessing to too many of us."
Other nations often criticize the U.S., labeling it arrogant or exploitative. But Johnson says in addition to bringing a spiritual awakening he hopes the event will counter that view. "There are people, immigrants, who love this country and who desire America to continue to be strong, continue to be prosperous, continue to be Christian," he says.
After the event, Johnson says African believers will continue to pray for the U.S., and in time may hold similar prayer gatherings in other places such as Europe, which he says has a growing need of missionaries.
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