Christians who believe the nation is in an unprecedented moral and spiritual crisis launched a 40-day prayer and fasting campaign this week. The time of consecration will lead up to a large-scale "May Day" prayer gathering being held May 1 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Organizers of May Day 2010 are calling on Christians to repent and seek God "for His mercy instead of the judgment our many sins deserve." The 30-member host committee includes Christian and conservative leaders ranging from Focus on the Family founder James Dobson to prayer leaders Mike and Cindy Jacobs to Republican Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia.
"Our nation faces what is perhaps the most serious moral crisis since the civil war, as we've turned our backs on God and have clearly displeased Him," Dobson said in a statement. "May Day 2010 is a time to come together and proclaim what God has done in the past, to pray for forgiveness and to plead for God's mercy on all of us."
Many of the leaders involved in the event say the nation's moral state worsened this week with the passage of the health care overhaul, which many pro-life groups believe will subsidize abortion despite an executive order President Obama signed Wednesday prohibiting federal funding for elective abortions.
"On Sunday, America's crisis reached the catastrophic state," wrote May Day organizer Janet Porter, president of the advocacy group Faith2Action, in a WorldNet Daily column Tuesday. "With the government takeovers so far, we are now a small step from a communist dictatorship. That is why we are calling for a 40-day fast for our nation in crisis-beginning today until May the 1st.
"This [May Day] event is not ‘business as usual,'" she added. "We're going to gather for a solemn assembly that begins with repentance."
May Day 2010 is inspired in part by a proclamation President Abraham Lincoln issued March 30, 1863, calling the nation to a day of prayer and fasting. It reads in part: "Whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord."
"In 1863, Abraham Lincoln lamented that America had 'become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us,'" said Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona. "As our nation faces many grave challenges, I hope Americans will heed Lincoln's challenge and come together in prayer at this important event."
Other participants in the May Day event include Colorado minister Dutch Sheets; Chuck Pierce of Glory of Zion International; Mathew Staver, founder of the Christian legal group Liberty Counsel; and Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Steve King of Iowa and Cliff Stearns of Florida.
Since the beginning of the year, Cindy Jacobs' ministry has been leading a Root 52 prayer campaign across the nation to restore each state's "covenantal roots," a reference to the acknowledgments of God included in many state constitutions and founding documents. During May Day 2010, state prayer leaders affiliated with Jacobs' Reformation Prayer Network will read the preambles to their state constitutions, repent and "invite God back into their state."
Jacobs said during times of "great trouble" it is biblical for Christians to humble themselves in prayer before God.
"This nation was changed by ordinary people that heard that the nation had to be protected," Jacobs told Porter during a radio interview earlier this year. "I just feel that that spirit still is in us as Americans today. ... I just feel there's hundreds of thousands of people today that are saying, ‘I will not let this happen to my nation without falling on my face.'"