This is the year of presidential election for the United States of America, and tomorrow marks the preliminary election day in California. In the face of a deteriorating social and political atmosphere, churches from multiple cultures in the San Francisco Bay area joined forces and participated in "Cry Out America", a prayer gathering that united five to six hundred Christians yesterday (the 3rd) who, through prayers and faith, proclaimed that God is the ruler of this land.
The "Cry Out America" prayer gathering took place in the Silicon Valley River of Life Christian Church, which began with members from China, Korea, the Philippines, Latin America, Africa, and America singing praises to God. Everyone was greatly touched by the Holy Spirit, and experienced the glory of God. The prayer gathering then proceeded with prayers surrounding five main topics, shared and led by various pastors. These five topics were: repentance, family values, awakening, duties as Christian members of the society, and the Church of the people and its leaders.
Pastor Dick Bernal from the Jubilee Christian Center led the congregation in repenting in front of God. He quoted a scripture from Matthew 3 regarding John the Baptist's cry in the wilderness to illustrate that the coming of the Kingdom is near, and that man must repent. John the Baptist was the one who prepared the road for Jesus Christ. He urged man to repent, because the first message that Christ conveyed during his work in this land was "the Kingdom is near, you shall repent". Therefore, only through repentance can God's will be fulfilled on earth as it is in Heaven, so that the Kingdom can come to this land.
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A Korean Pastor, Kenneth Son, from the New Community Baptist Church, then led the congregation in praying for family values. The legalization of same sex marriage and educational materials about homosexuality is now public knowledge, and is also a major threat to traditional marriage and family values. Pastor Kenneth Son stated that a family consisting of a man, a woman, and their children was a family structure designed by God. Satan is attacking this structure, including the families within the Church. The Pastor urged the congregation to turn their gaze upon God, and not towards the laws of the world. Simply approach and put your trust in God, and pray for protection of the family structure that God has designed.
Pastor Oscar Dace from the Bible Way Christian Center led the prayers for awakening, and sharply pointed out the main problem of the Church today: the Church is asleep. While the Church is asleep, the enemy has come and sown bad seeds, and the weeds have invaded the Church and left a negative influence on the Church. He preached loudly and clearly to awaken the Church: do not be fighting, but uniting in crying out to God, armed with the promise of God as stated in 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land".
Pastor Abel Rios from the New Harvest Christian Fellowship also led the congregation in prayers for the Church of the people and its leaders. If the Christian community wants to change the world, and to make the United States of America turn to God, the Christian community must be united. He exclaimed that many churches and leaders, being the followers of God, had not taken action. They need much power and courage to fight this spiritual war, and thus they need the prayers of the congregation for support. He invited all the leaders present to come up on stage to receive the prayers of blessing from the congregation.
Duties as Christian members of the society
"Cry Out America" was organized by the Values Advocacy Council (VAC). Pastor Larry Pegram from the Silicon Valley VAC shared his thoughts on the "duties as Christian members of the society". He stated that many Christians could not understand their role and position in this worldly world. He quoted Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth", to bring out an important principle: God created the world, and thus all that is within this world, including the Government, belongs to God. Roman 13:1 teaches us: "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Although we may question whether the authority of our non-Christian leaders has really come from God, Roman 13:4-6 again tells us that these men are "God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer", and that we need them to bear this responsibility.
So what are our duties as Christian members of the society? Pastor Pegram used the words of Professor Bill Bright (the founder of the Campus Crusade for Christ) to teach the congregation. Professor Bill Bright once said that Christian members of the society have five duties: 1) pray; 2) register to vote; 3) possess an understanding in societal and political news; 4) participate; 5) vote. Pastor Pegram shared that he once learnt through a survey that over half of the Christian community were not registered to vote, and the remainder who registered to vote did not vote. He found this extremely shameful, that Christian members of the society were not able to fulfill their duties. He also pointed out that because of the lack of participation, the values held by current political leaders do not accurately reflect the values of the voters. He led the congregation in prayers towards fulfilling duties as Christian members of the society, and advised everyone to vote during this preliminary election day in California.
Pastor Liu Tong, from the Silicon Valley River of Life Christian Church, concluded that this was a rare opportunity for churches from many cultural backgrounds to gather together and pray for the United States of America, not only because we all love this piece of land that God has prepared for us, but because we are confident in the power of prayers.
VAC is currently exploring the possibility of holding another similar prayer gathering prior to the presidential election in November of this year. For more information and updates, please visit http://www.vac.org.
[Editor's note: Carol Lee translated the article.]