Churches in the greater New York area began 72 hours of prayer and worship last night to ring in the New Year—that is, the Jewish New Year.
In the run-up to Rosh Hashana, which begins Sept. 30, at least 24 different houses of prayer and churches from the five New York boroughs and as far away as Pennsylvania are taking turns leading two-hour prayer and worship “watches” as part of the event dubbed “Rosh Hashana at the Eastern Gate.”
Organized by Eagles’ Wings, a New York-based ministry that emphasizes the Jewish roots of Christianity, along with the Metro New York House of Prayer, the meeting is focused on seeking God for the upcoming Hebrew year.
“The body of Christ is at a vital point right now in the world,” said Joel James, director of development for Eagles’ Wings. “The nations are roiling now, and there is a spiritual wave of activity that is rising now in the world. And we believe that this [event], right now, is very significant in terms of what it will do for intercession at this critical moment.”
According to the Eagles’ Wings website, Rosh Hashana the holiday is regarded as a time when “God reviews the books of judgment and determines the fate of each person for the upcoming year.”
“So we as believers want to align ourselves with God’s calendar,” James told Charisma. “We come together in a foundation of prayer, and we come together in worship as believers to acknowledge the significance of this time of year but also to seek God for what’s ahead.”
This third annual event is expected to draw 1,500 to 2,000 people each night to Calvary Temple International Assembly of God in Wayne, N. J.
Worship leaders including Marco Barrientos, Rita Springer and Julie Meyer, and revivalists such as Keith Miller, Mosy Madugba and Wesley Campbell will participate in the prayer watches, and give prophetic messages and teachings focused on preparing for the Hebrew New Year.
The meetings will include times of prayer for the peace of Jerusalem and for an outbreak of revival worldwide. “We’re kind of laying a foundation here before the new year really begins, and this is kind of like God’s people coming together to call on heaven and prepare the ground for the new season to come.”
Not only is the time of year spiritually significant, says Stephen Jenks, Eagles’ Wings operations director, but the location is important as well. He believes that hosting the prayer event in New York could have worldwide ramifications.
“New York City is one of the key gateway cities on our East Coast,” he said. “As a major center of business, finance, government, entertainment, education and the arts, in many ways it is the ‘eastern gate’ of our nation.
“In addition, the diversity of New York City is second to none, as literally every nation on the earth is represented in one of the communities that make up this region,” Jenks added. “We believe that as we lift up the name of the Lord over this region and see Him bring transformation that this ripple effect will touch the nations of the world.”
Jenks hopes the 72 hours of prayer and worship will fulfill the biblical mandate found in 2 Chronicles 7:14—that if God’s people humble themselves and pray, He will hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.
“Our desire for these days is that as we come in the spirit of humility and unity serving one another and ministering to the Lord, and allowing the Lord to search our hearts and cleanse us—that then as we cry out to the Lord He will hear from heaven and bring the transforming power of His love and presence to heal this region and bring salvation to this area and the nations that are represented in it,” Jenks said.
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