The American response to the first-ever Global Day of Prayer (GDOP) far exceeded expectations, at least according to the planners of GDOP events nationwide.
"It was far beyond what we could ask or imagine," said Dr. Robert Bakke, producer of the American arm of GDOP.
More than 160 nations and an estimated 200 million Christians came together for the Global Day of Prayer on Pentecost, May 15, 2005.
People prayed for God's mercy and forgiveness, repenting of sins and calling on the power of the Holy Spirit to dawn on this globe in a transformation and spiritual awakening.
According to organisers, the original goal for the U.S. was to have four large cities and two dozen small communities participate and act as models for "year one."
However, by Tuesday, 182 communities reported holding events spanning 38 states, the District of Columbia, and 1 Overseas Military Command.
An event in Dallas, TX was attended by 12,000-15,000 people and was reportedly viewed by at least 149 countries.
"Tonight we look a whole lot like heaven in this place," said Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of America's largest churches with 24,000 congregants, according to Star Telegram in Dallas.
Other speakers at the Dallas event include Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House megachurch in Dallas and Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, Ca., and author of the best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life.
During the evnet, Warren likened the prayer movement to the Protestant Reformation in its influence on Christianity, "but this time it will unify the church," he told the Baptist Standard.
Meanwhile, an event in St. Louis, Missouri gathered 3,000 Christians at Busch Stadium. "At one point in the afternoon, the Busch crowd was shown a video clip of the Global Day of Prayer event that had recently ended in Taiwan," stated the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
About 1,000 people gathered at Hulman Centre at the Indiana State University to participate in the massive movement for prayer. According to the Tribune Star News, people erased denominational and racial lines as they gathered to pray for their community and world.
In Atlanta, several thousand people filed into Philips Arena, Governor Sonny Perdue, who kicked off the three-hour event, said: "Our city, our state, our nation, our world needs God's mercy today," according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Other local events, such as the one at Valencia High School in Placentia, CA. gathered about 500 people from more than 30 churches, reported The Orange County Register. One family, the Kings, set up a prayer tent in their driveway and hung a sign welcoming all to leave a prayer.
Susan King, 48, told the Register, "It just blew my mind when I heard that the whole world was gathering for prayer, not just for a day but for 10 days."
Another home in Ontario, Canada said his living room, which only holds 35 people, was completely packed with 70 people, according to Dr. Bakke.
Said Dr. Bakke, "They prayed in his house all night, and were "filled with the Holy Spirit and the glory of God." All seven provinces in Canada reported holding events.
Around the world, reports of the 70+ events - simulcast live on Internet, radio, and television - are slowly coming in.
So far, Cape Town, South Africa reported 30,000 in its stadium. Cave Church in Cairo, Egypt, a basilica that seats 20,000 people, streamed live across Africa and Europe.
In Asia, in Hong Kong and in Taipei, two of the world's largest gatherings took place reporting 40,000 and 50,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, Jakarta, Indonesia reported a total of 120,000 Christians attending the stadium event: 90,000 inside the stadium with another 30,000 standing outside in the parking lots. In addition, at least 76 other cities connected to the Indonesian live broadcast via satellite. Although Indonesia holds the world's largest Muslim population, representatives of the government were present at this milestone event, including Prime Minister Megawati Sukarnoputri.
In Europe, Belfast, Ireland reported 10,000 plus other sites throughout the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands stadium event gathered 30,000.
In addition, a telephone broadcast was achieved with the Greater Calling ministry, which ran a phone line for people from all over the world to call in and join a telephone prayer-room. Participants from nine different nations recorded over 1.3 million minutes of continual prayer.
The American national event in Dallas will be rebroadcast on Daystar Christian Television Network and Christian Broadcasting Network throughout the world. In addition, the movie file of the American Dallas, TX stadium event will be available online at www.GDOPvideo.com shortly.
There has not been a time when the entire Church prayed together since the original Pentecost, according to the American GDOP website www.GDOPUSA.com.
This event is to be followed by 90 days of active service around the world in keeping with the Biblical 90 days after the Pentecost, according to the book of Acts, and communities are already reporting planned activities.
The Global Day of Prayer began when God gave two complimentary visions to Graham Power, of a five-stage global prayer movement. Stage one was achieved in 2001 when 45,000 Christians gathered in prayer uniting Cape Town, South Africa. The second stage also exceeded expectations when nine cities across South Africa united the nation in prayer the following year. Finally, the third stage brought the prayer movement to the continent of Africa with the cooperation and support of the International Prayer Council. In 2004, all 56 African nations united in prayer, reportedly according to God's plan.
This year, the movement went global for the first time and broke records when seventy Christian leaders, representing networks of tens of millions of Christians from all of the major regions of the world, committed themselves until year 2010, according to www.globaldayofprayer.org, the official website.
The story for this event accords with Scriptures: ten days of prayer followed by giving of the Holy Spirit by God on Pentecost Day, the event which gave birth to the Church; and finally the 90 days of blessing.