- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 27, 2008

Imagine a huge Christian rock concert where the names of the speakers and bands are not announced ahead of time. Instead of a mosh pit, the grounds are filled with twentysomethings with their arms lifted high, lost in worship, repentance, prayer or a combination of all three.

The Call, a combination revival and repentance fest, is coming to town, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 16. Get this: There will be no food sold at the gathering.

“This is not a festival, it’s a fast,” says Lou Engle, the 55-year-old founder of what’s become a movement of young folks praying for the country and to “stop the judgment of God,” as he puts it.

He is a bit regretful that he’s booked what probably will be a blazing hot day on the Mall — the only spot the National Park Service had open — and he is working to make lots of water available.

“It’s grueling, but it is an offering to move the heart of heaven,” he says. “God will hear the cry of the righteous when they pray to Him.”

He says a 2000 convocation on the Mall brought 400,000 young people to the nation’s capital to pray for the election and against abortion.

“We are going to gather together to appeal to heaven to raise up those who stand for life and shift the priorities of the nation to cause a great awakening,” he said. “We are going to humble ourselves and say, ‘God have mercy on us. Turn us around and release a massive prayer movement.’”

After he spent several minutes telling me about God’s intent to judge the estimated 50 million abortions done on U.S. soil since abortion was legalized in 1973, I asked him about nations such as China, India and Russia, where the abortion rates are far higher.

“Where there is more light, there is more accountability,” he said. “This nation was meant to be a light to the world. We are a leadership nation. What happens here affects the world. Just look at how the pornography released from Hollywood goes all over the world.”

As for this year’s election, “We will pray that God will raise up the righteous, give us pro-life leaders in the nation and judges who have a foundation of absolute truth,” he said.

The Call has spawned gatherings of 70,000 in Nashville, plus turnouts of 20,000 in Dallas, 50,000 in Boston, 85,000 in New York, 30,000 in Los Angeles, 40,000 in San Francisco, 7,500 in Las Vegas, 15,000 in Kansas City, 8,500 in Cincinnati and so on.

Mr. Engel lives in Kansas City, where he is active in the International House of Prayer, a 24-hour prayer ministry. In 2004, he founded a junior version, Justice House of Prayer on Capitol Hill, “to contend with the injustice of abortion and pray for righteous leaders to be raised up in America,” as he puts it.

JHOP, as it’s called, the subject of a sympathetic 2005 segment on ABC’s “Nightline,” is in a humble second-floor apartment off Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast. That will be the energy center for the Aug. 16 gathering.

He’s not sure how many people will show up, but he has projected a $1 million budget and says his permit with the U.S. Park Service specifies 250,000. But that’s a guess.

“I expected 50,000 at the first one and 400,000 showed up,” he said. “It’s not about numbers, it’s about the people that come to consecrate their hearts to seek God for the nation.”

Julia Duin’s Stairway to Heaven column runs on Thursdays and Sundays. She can be reached at jduin@washington times.com.

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