A 15-day prayer tour with the stated purpose to "re-dig the wells of revival" in the Northeast launched in July when a team of intercessors converged in Williamsburg, Va., and the nearby Jamestown Settlement.
Using a 200-year-old kettle that belonged to African American slaves as a catalyst for prayer, the group prayed at several sites, including the place where the first slaves were brought into the country.
The group, led by Dutch Sheets of Spring Harvest Fellowship in Colorado Springs, Colo., then traveled to Gettysburg, Pa., and Washington, D.C., on their way to 10 key historical sites and cities in the Northeast.
"What God wants to do in America cannot be done without the Northeast," Sheets told those who attended the prayer gathering in Washington. "We've got to get the wells reopened there, where the roots of this nation began, so that a breakthrough can come for the entire country."
The idea for what is being called the "Kettle Tour" was birthed during a conference last March when Sheets spoke about the joining of the present generation's prayers with those of the past to form a "synergy of the ages."
Will Ford, an African American conference attendee from Euless, Texas, shared a powerful story about an old kettle that had been passed down through the generations from his slave ancestors.
"My ancestors would be beaten if they were caught praying," Ford explained, "so they'd wait until everyone was asleep, sneak into the barn late at night, turn this pot upside down on some rocks, and get underneath it to pray where they wouldn't be heard. Although they didn't believe they would see freedom in their lifetime, they prayed for the freedom of the next generation."
When Ford heard Sheets speak about the "bowls of incense," which contained the prayers of the saints from all generations, mentioned in Revelation 5:8, he said he realized his prayers were being united with those of his slave ancestors.
Ford agreed to travel throughout New England with Sheets and a team of people, taking along his "prayer kettle" as a symbol of what God desires to do in this nation.
"God is connecting all the ages to heal history," Sheets told the prayer participants in Washington. "We must come into agreement with the prayers of past generations in order for God to fulfill His purposes for this nation."
Pointing to a significant movement of repentance and reconciliation between races, genders, and denominations that has already taken place in the last few years, Sheets believes God is now desiring a "synergistic agreement" that will release a multiplication of power for spiritual breakthrough.
"The church has been so disjointed that we haven't been able to accomplish what the Lord wants to do through us, but we're moving into a season in the body of Christ where I believe over the next five years there's going to be more joining together of the church than in all the 2,000 years leading up to this."
At the Washington prayer gathering, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., told those present that in all the history of the country nothing has happened but that it happened first in prayer.
"We've made it up the mountain a long way, but we have to make that final assault on the peak," Brownback said. "We can make that final leap to the top, if we stay on our knees."
The kettle, which was draped with an American flag given to the group in Williamsburg, was turned over to symbolize a bowl of intercession around which participants gathered to add their prayers for the nation.
Various Christian leaders from the Washington area led prayers, holding high a golden key that represented the spiritual change they believed was occurring as a result of their prayers.
"God has brought about an opportune time in our nation where tremendous reconciliation and healing can occur," Sheets emphasized. "We believe this Kettle Tour is part of that plan for the healing of our nation."
--Sandra Chambers in Washington, D.C.