David Vega, a Church of God pastor in Miami was the catalyst for a prayer gathering that drew 20,000 to a prayer celebration, despite the threat of rain. Thousands gathered to pray in the under-churched, cosmopolitan city, ripe with Santería – the syncretism of Christianity with elements of African and Caribbean witchcraft.
They marched. They sang. A hundred choreographed worshippers from dozens of congregations led praise. Prayerful pleas were offered in English, Spanish, Creole and Portuguese. The well manned crowd waving American, Christian and Israeli flags moved past security carrying “In God we Trust!” signs. Others declared, “Viva Christo!” “One Church – Many Congregations!” and “II Chronicles 7:14.”
The highlight, many said, was the moment Bishop Doug Small of Project Pray and Church of God Prayer Ministries called for repentance. “If you are physically able,” he urged, “go to your knees.” Quiet came to the gathering, a stillness, the mood changed. It was sobering and poignant. An estimated 80% of the throng knelt. One leader commented of the spontaneous, unplanned moment, “I sensed what was about to happen. We were going to repent. It was powerful and reverent. I dared not lift my head.”
Bishop Small began, “Father, we repent. We are sorry.”
One observer said, “Everyone was stirred. I cried. Others were wiping tears. It was moving.” Another noted, “For me, the celebration, the singing, the praying – all we had done climaxed in those minutes. The ‘clock stopped.’ It was not only ‘a moment’ it was ‘the moment.’” Thousands were on their knees. “We repent – we have sinned. We have failed to be the light we were called to be. We have failed to offer the quality of witness with our own lives so needed by the city and the world … forgive us, Father.” Small noted, “Miami is a world-class, gateway between two continents. If ‘awakening’ were to come – the nation would notice. The ripple effect would rumble throughout South America. Corrupt activities – the drug trade, human trafficking, prostitution and vice – would be interrupted. But none of that will happen or be sustained without repentance and change in the church. In the prayer tent, where 70 counselors prayed for needs, 207 made a commitment to follow Christ.
The Honorable Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami Mayor, commended the role of faith for its motivation “to do right, to love, to serve, to be humble,” and for the hope of “a spiritual revival.” Other dignitaries were Mayor Ramon Rodriguez, of Medley; Congressman David Rivera; Pastor Alberto Delzabo of the Hispanic Ministerial Association; and Rose Titus, a long-time city leader.
Pastor David Vega, of Mission Miami, said the highlight was “thousands of people, different denominations, cultures, diverse languages standing shoulder to shoulder, declaring their love for Jesus, and concern for the city – it was remarkable.” Vega says, “We want to see the spiritual transformation of Miami, and if that is going to happen, then Christian people, from diverse backgrounds and cultures, different denominations, must gather for prayer!”
January 5, 2012
Posted by: Faith News Staff
Category: Church of God News