Tens of thousands of African Christians are expected to gather this week to pray for a spiritual awakening—in the U.S.
Organizers expect the Africa Prays for America event to draw some 50,000 believers to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Saturday. The gathering, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., is hosted by the African Strategic Leadership Prayer Network (ASLPN), a coalition of African church leaders in the U.S. and abroad.
Christians will be fasting and praying Wednesday through Friday in the run up to the event.
ASLPN leaders say the United States has been sending missionaries to Africa for centuries and now African Christians want to return the favor.
“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.
Ugandan pastor Jackson Senyonga and Nigerian pastor Emmanuel Kure will be traveling to the U.S. for the prayer meeting. And Pastor James Fadele will represent the Nigeria-based Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest church networks in the world.
The gathering also will feature U.S. 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 is co-sponsoring the event.
“God has sent thousands of African believers to America on a missionary journey,” Wilson said. “In almost every community in the nation they are the lead intercessors and very involved across denominational lines. 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 the U.S. to better their lives. “But more and more we’re realizing God had his own agenda, and we’re realizing God didn’t bring us here so our lives could be more comfortable,” he said.
He worries that the U.S. is reaching a dangerous 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,” he said. “We don’t want to see that. America has been too great a blessing to too many of us.”
Pastor Michael Obi, an ASLPN member and pastor of Prayer Center Church in Cleveland, Tenn., believes the intercessors will be “crying into a window of mercy.”
“We believe God will grant us that mercy, and we’ll see a drastic change in the policy of the nation from the head or from some kind of direction, a shift,” he said. Without that shift, he believes God will allow circumstances to occur that could push the nation toward repentance.
In addition to bringing a spiritual awakening, Johnson also hopes the event sends a message. Although the U.S. is often criticized abroad, he said, “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.”
The ASLPN formed after Wilson invited African pastors to join the Awakening America Alliance in praying for a national revival. The group moved quickly to plan Africa Prays for America as its first outreach, Obi said.
After Saturday’s prayer meeting, 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.