After a global pandemic that has lasted 15 months, Christians will travel to the exact center of the nation in mid-July from eight directions to pray for the nation in the middle of a cornfield. The "Prayer at the Heart of America" event will be held in the tiny town of Lebanon, Kansas—population 218—after caravans of intercessors arrive from eight points on the compass.
"We believe this gathering in the heart of our nation is a vital part of a fresh awakening that God so desires to bring to America," says Garry Bryant, a leader in the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, one of several denominations and parachurch ministries helping to organize the unusual event.
Intercessors will arrive in the Kansas town on July 23 from Augusta, Maine; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Miami, Florida; Donna, Texas; San Diego and San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Grand Forks, North Dakota. Another group of intercessors on motorcycles will ride the circumference of the nation, starting from Tacoma, Washington, and then head to Lebanon.
The tiny Kansas town is the geographic center of the continental United States. Hundreds of Christians will arrive there after praying in cities and small towns along their routes. All the prayer warriors will then converge in Lebanon for a six-hour prayer meeting.
The gathering was first envisioned by Doug Small, an author and prayer leader affiliated with the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). Author of Prayer: Heartbeat of the Church and Transforming Your Church into a House of Prayer, Small said he has dreamed of seeing caravans of Christians rededicating the nation back to God.
Says Small: "Right in the middle of the nation, in the middle of a cornfield, is a monument that marks the geographic center of the continental USA. I've dreamed of people gathering there, carrying a torch like a marathon." Small says participants will avoid major interstates and instead "go through every little town and hamlet" as they travel to the center of the nation, stopping along the way to pray in various venues.
Christians from about 70 denominations have been enlisted in the effort, along with representatives from the National Prayer Committee, Transform USA, Pilgrim's Covenant, the Children's International Prayer Commission and other prayer movements, Small said.
The event will be broadcast live on social media, but various denominations and church networks are encouraging Christians to attend in person. Participants will stay in hotels or RV parks in a 120-mile radius of Lebanon, in cities including Salina, Hays and Beloit. Information about the meeting location and lodging can be found at prayerattheheart.com.
So why would hundreds of Christians want to go to such an expense to travel so far to pray in such a remote location?
"Without question, our nation has turned its back on its Judeo-Christian heritage and foundation," says the IPHC's Bryant. "The truth of God's Word is being ignored and rejected. Our sin has increased, and the moral fiber of our nation has been defiled. Prayer at the Heart is a call to the family of faith, and the invitation is extended to everyone who believes that God is able to heal our land and that He is our hope for revival and restoration."
"If we want revival in America, we have to press in for it," says Denise Gedda, a prayer leader based near Kansas City who will host intercessors coming from the Virginia prayer route. "It's time we showed God we are serious. We have to be desperate. I think at this point there is power when people lay down the things that occupy their time. We are saying, 'Lord, we need You.' We are taking a journey, praying in one accord and crying out to God."
Terry Kesling, pastor of Christian Life Worship Center in Athens, Georgia, says he and his wife will join a caravan of intercessors who will drive from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Kansas. During the six-day drive they will stop to pray in the nation's capital as well as other significant spots including Williamsburg, Virginia.
Participants believe God will hear the cries of those who are desperate for spiritual awakening. Says Kesling: "I have sensed that this coming revival will consist of small fires starting in many places. It will not be just one big revival in one place."
The event will run from 2 to 8 p.m. CST on July 23, but those driving in caravans will leave several days earlier to pray along their routes. You can go to prayerattheheart.com for information on how to join a prayer caravan.
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J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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