YORK, PENNSYLVANIA — Believers who think America is in deep spiritual trouble say the only way out is a move of God. And many students of the Bible say nothing moves God's heart like His people confessing and turning from their wicked ways to Him.
That's what the Sept. 24th-Oct. 1st National Week of Repentance is all about.
The founder of the week, York's Grace Fellowship Lead Pastor Michael Anthony, told CBN News Christians who want an awakening, revival or reformation can't get any of those without a serious season of repenting first. And he worries that's not something that comes all that naturally to Americans.
'A NATIONAL HUMILITY CRISIS'
"I think our nation is in the midst of a national humility crisis," Anthony said. "And the only thing that's going to turn it around is a genuine movement of real repentance. I think in a lot of instances, many Christians are trying to get other people to follow a Jesus we're not following ourselves."
This senior pastor frequently reminds people the 2 Chronicles 7:14 scripture everyone loves to quote because it offers national healing actually starts with a call for God's people to turn from their sins.
"It's not about trying to effect change in the nation out there," he stated, pointing away from his body. But then he aimed his fingers back towards his own chest. "It's about inviting God to begin with each and every one of us in our own hearts, in our own lives, in our own families, in our houses of worship."
NOT IN THE WHITE HOUSE, BUT IN GOD'S HOUSE
"True change does not begin in the White House. I think it begins in God's house. And I think for far too long, we Christians have abdicated the responsibility God has given to us," Anthony said.
He points out what 2 Chronicles 7:14 says: "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, seek My face, pray, turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land."
The pastor summed up, "Oftentimes we quote that and we launch into immediately 'let's pray for America.' That's not God's strategy. Whenever God wants to bring change, He uses the Church — God's people — as Ground Zero."
EVERYTHING'S FREE AND EASY TO GET TO
The National Week of Repentance has its own website, WeekofRepentance.com, where folks can find free study guides, paths to live-streaming events throughout the week, and plans of attack for waging the kind of spiritual warfare good repentance often takes.
One video on the website admonishes believers saying, "America needs healing. Our lives need healing. Our families need healing."
It continues, "It's time for genuine confession, apologies, forgiveness, true repentance and humility that results in a genuine unity throughout the country."
Another features a young woman telling viewers, "The National Week of Repentance is a simultaneous, nationwide movement of God and His people. And it's driven by the greatest celebrity the world has ever known: the Lord Jesus Christ."
"The National Week of Repentance is a grassroots movement of ordinary people across the nation just like you and just like me. Don't miss this movement of God," she concludes.
Another video informs viewers, "You don't need to get onto a plane or get into a car to participate. You don't need to go anywhere. All you need to do to soar is go to WeekofRepentance.com."
'REMOVE THE LOG…'
Anthony said of what's at the website, "We've provided tools for people to repent, to apologize, to do some time personally reflecting before the Lord and cleaning their own house. Jesus said 'remove the log in your own eye, then you'll be able to remove the speck in your brother's eye.' That's what the Week of Repentance is all about."
On that website, people will also find the week's official prayer, penned by leading Christian author, lecturer and apologist Ravi Zacharias.
He mentions the recent storms that have shattered so many homes and taken so many lives.
Then he writes, "In some ways, Lord, these storms remind us of the havoc that alien ideas have wreaked in the land: the erosion of our values, the eviction of Your name from halls of learning, and the climate of hate in the land that makes it almost impossible to govern."
Zacharias goes on, "We pray for peace in our world and humility in our hearts. May we hear Your voice guiding us and our wills responding to Your call. God, bless America and make us a people that will be an example to the world of what it means to walk with You. We ask forgiveness for our sins and strength for the journey."
A NATIONWIDE GET-TOGETHER
This is the second such National Week of Repentance. The first was held in November 2016 just before the national election.
Pastor Anthony said of that internet-based event, "Last November it was the first time in history where in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., people set aside an entire week without having to go any place, and actually reflected and repented and apologized. We actually made history, by God's grace."
But the work is far from over, according to Anthony. He explained it takes a certain bravery to humbly confess sin and repent, summing up, "I think the United States needs a second American Revolution, characterized not by conventional weaponry, but by the weapons of humility and courage; what I call humble courage."
This hi-tech internet age may have given human beings easier paths to sin and temptation, but it also allows the people of God to spread across the land to all connect with each other and go deeper spiritually. And those who've put this effort together say that can start right now by folks going online to join this nationwide move to repent.