As I arrived at Detroit’s Ford Field to participate in TheCall—a summons to prayer, fasting, repentance and sacrificial worship that began at 6 p.m. Friday and ran for 24 hours—I passed a nearby park where protesters set up an “Occupy Detroit” camp.
As we parked the car, we could see about 35 men, most of them black, singing “God Loves Everyone” to the tune of “We Shall Overcome” and marching with a police escort toward Ford Field.
I didn't wait to hear what they may have said or talk with any of them. I was too eager to join the prayer service inside. In fact, despite the national headlines over the Wall Street protests, no one inside seemed to notice the occupiers were there. The crowd of about 30,000 that gathered at Ford Field had a different purpose: praying for America.
TheCall Detroit feels more intense and more anointed than the gatherings I attended on the mall in Washington, D.C., in 2000 and in Nashville on 7-7-07. On Friday night, most of the lower bowl was fairly full in the home of the Detroit Lions.
TheCall was one of many prayer rallies held on 11-11-11. From a platform at Ford Field in Detroit—decorated with huge banners adorned with TheCall logo, featuring young people intently worshipping the Lord and the words “No cost. Just sacrifice.”—event leaders pointed to prayer gatherings in London, Mexico and Egypt.
Much like TheCall events in other cities, worship was central. Some music was worshipful and slow like “Show me Your Face, Lord.” Other music was worshipful and loud. Young people standing in front of the brightly lit stage danced and worshippers raised their hands in adoration of the Lord.
Interspersed by a wide variety of music, prayers were offered for Native Americans, Canadians and Mexicans. But the strongest focus was on America—getting this nation turned around.
The central figure on stage was Lou Engle, whose vision founded TheCall. “The DNA is changing in America,” he shouted in his raspy voice that is so recognizable. “People are hungering for God.”
On stage Engle was surrounded by pastors from Detroit, like Andre Butler of Word of Faith in Southfield, as well as national leaders like Mike Bickle of International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo., and author Francis Frangipane. Many took turns offering fiery prayers asking God's forgiveness of our national sins.
Cindy Jacobs, co-founder of Generals International who earlier had issued a prophetic word about this being a turning point for America, prayed that Canadians would forgive Americans for invading Canada in the War of 1812.
Prayers continued to alternate with music in the early hours of TheCall. Rather than sermons, leaders offered comments about abortion or racism or turning Detroit around spiritually. Engle said he believed a new “sound of worship” would come out of Detroit, the same city famous for producing the “Motown” sound.
I decided only a few days before I went that the Lord wanted me to drop everything and attend. I'm glad I was obedient.