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Capturing America's Heart: A Third Awakening?

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WASHINGTON -- Some religious leaders say America is facing a spiritually dark time.

"At the root of America's problem, we really have a spiritual cancer that's been eating away at our nation," Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, told CBN News.

Retired Gen. Jerry Boykin used to fight America's physical enemies overseas. He's now working with the Family Research Council fighting spiritual foes.

Boykin said without a Third Great Awakening, forces like those that took down mighty empires of the past will also bring down the United States.

"We're going to wind up exactly like these other great empires, which only lasted on an average about 200 years," he said. "We're going to completely self-destruct. And you see the beginnings of that now."

***This Fourth of July, a two-week celebration called Celebrate America is being planned in the nation's capital designed to bring hope back to our country. For more information click here.

South Africa-born revivalist Rodney Howard-Browne pastors The River at Tampa Bay, a mega-church in Tampa, Florida.

"In the 1700s, there was a Great Awakening. In the 1800s, there was another. And we have to have one now. It's that critical," he told CBN News.

Bishop Jackson ticked off some of the sins he says are plaguing the land.

"We've got sex-trafficking," he said. "We've got abortion. We've got the resurgence of racism. We've got hatred that is abounding."

Howard-Browne pointed to the epidemics of abortion and illegal drug use in the nation.

"Three-thousand babies aborted every single day in this country. We have over 300 million people; we use over 70 percent of the world's drugs," he said.

God's Not Finished Yet

But Howard-Browne sees a special grace on America.

"Knowing what I know, we should be gone a long time ago," he said. "But it's the believer in this land and the hand of God that's still on America. And God's not finished with this land. So it's time for the Church to rise up."

Those past awakenings led to national transformation.

"Both resulted in extraordinary things happening," Boykin said.

The first in the mid-1700s was a unifying factor for the colonies as it spread throughout them. It awakened in Christians a hunger to live in a land that reflected the God of liberty portrayed in the Bible.

"Ultimately, it brought the American Revolution as the pastors and the people within the Church began to seek a new nation that would give them the kinds of freedoms that they believed were biblical," Boykin stated.

The next awakening in the early 1800s was marked by mass salvations. And as Americans became free in Christ, many could no longer abide the lack of freedom for the nation's slaves.

"In that Second Great Awakening, it brought about the Civil War as the conscience of America was raised to a level that would no longer tolerate slavery," Boykin explained.

The Power of Believers

Gen. Boykin believes the power to save the United States is not in politicians, but in its believers.

"Me plus the Holy Spirit: that's a majority," he said.

Bishop Jackson agreed.

"Awakenings really begin with individuals: people who are converted and transformed," he said.

Now, these spiritual leaders and their allies hope to bring revival power to so many Americans, it will spark a Third Great Awakening.

They'll be holding 14 days and nights of mega-sized meetings and street evangelism in the nation's capital as America celebrates its 238th birthday. They're calling it Celebrate America.

"We've come to light the fires right in the belly of the beast, if you can put it that way," Howard-Browne said.

He believes God sent him and his family from South Africa decades ago to help ignite national revival.

He said God told him, "'There's coming a revival of signs and wonders and the lost.' And He said, 'Go tell the Church to get ready for the coming revival.'"

These Washington-based events will be held in the first three weeks of July. By day, thousands of specially trained Christians will hit the streets of D.C. to evangelize and bring new converts to the Kingdom of God.

"We're just really believing God to cast a Gospel net across the capital," Howard-Browne stated.

Transformation Starts at the Top

If organizers get what they want, a country hungry for unity and leadership will see national political, business, and spiritual leaders humbling themselves as one before God.

"We'll be coming together in the very hub of the nation and crying out to God for Him to transform us first and then transform our nation," Jackson said.

Jackson, Howard-Browne, and Boykin believe that then revival could sweep America.

"If the fear of God would come back in the people, it would have a ripple effect throughout the land," Howard-Browne said.

"The Holy Spirit is contagious," Boykin said with a broad grin.

For this event in Washington D.C. to succeed, the organizers of Celebrate America say they need thousands of Christians who already have the fire of revival burning in their hearts to volunteer in Washington this July.

Howard-Browne said they could have a major impact serving as spiritual soldiers in this war for the nation's heart.

Jackson pleaded, "I'm asking 'We the People' to come help us, if you love America, if you love the nation."

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About The Author


As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress. Strand began his tenure at CBN News in 1985 as an evening assignment editor in Washington, D.C. After a year, he worked with CBN Radio News for three years, returning to the television newsroom to accept a position as editor in 1990. After five years in Virginia Beach, Strand moved back to the nation's capital, where he has been a correspondent since 1995. Before joining CBN News, Strand served as the newspaper editor for