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1980 - Beginnings - Washington For Jesus

By Jay Rogers
Published August 1, 1980

It is hard to imagine that sixteen years have passed since the first Washington For Jesus. On that day, Iran still held Americans hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. We were still locked in a Cold War with a growing Soviet nuclear arsenal. America’s sense of patriotism was at a low ebb. Memories of Vietnam and Watergate lingered in the minds disillusioned citizens and the outlook for the coming decade was not generally optimistic.

But almost a million Christians gathered to pray on the Mall in Washington D.C. Washington For Jesus was a cry of repentance from the American church about the need of our nation to turn back to God. Many of the speakers at this prayer rally guessed that as a nation we were in a race between spiritual revival and judgment from God.

But a few carried a different message. God was not done with us as a nation. Although the problem of evil was great and spirituality seemed to be at a low point, God desired to turn us around, to restore America to greatness and give us back our respect both at home and abroad. We were not headed for a slow demise or a sudden nuclear holocaust, but for a glorious future in which the light of God’s truth would shine through us once again as a part of a global awakening in which the nations of the world would turn to God.

There needed to be some way of heralding this truth. Since only a few small voices could be heard echoing this hope. God obviously used Washington For Jesus 1980 to sow the seeds of heroic actions and thoughts into the minds and hearts of America’s young people. Many prophecies were given saying that a great spiritual awakening that would occur. Looking back on the past sixteen years it is safe to say that some progress has been made. Of course, the work is not over yet and we have not seen the Awakening we looked for, but we can celebrate many victories for the Kingdom of God as we look back.

While it is impossible to say exactly how much of an impact Washington For Jesus 1980 had on the trend toward patriotism and spiritual awakening in our nation, it is apparent that God spoke clearly on that day proclaiming the great destiny our nation possesses in His divine purposes.


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