Washington Post article
May 9, 1992

Prayer Making A Comeback, Some Say

Clerics Cite Revivals On Campuses, in Cities

by Carey Kinsolving

A prayer movement is under way in America and around the world, and it is sparking a religious revival, said several clerics attending a White House meeting Thursday for the National Day of Prayer.

One of the leaders, the Rev. Lloyd Ogilvie, had just come from a Los Angeles prayer meeting of 700 pastors. Ogilvie, of Hollywood Presbyterian Church, said that the violence in Los Angeles last week sounded an alarm that unresolved tensions must be resolved.

“We have committed to love one another in Christ,” Ogilvie said, discussing the gathering of Los Angeles pastors that he started two years ago with the Rev. Jack Hayford.

That love, Ogilvie said, was never so evident as when pastors from five ethnic communities raised a single Communion cup before the group as a sign of their unity in Jesus Christ.

Such are the stories of reconciliation when people come together to pray, said David Bryant, who started Concerts of Prayer International. Bryant said that the Los Angeles pastors’ meetings and the meeting at the White House are only two indicators of a prayer movement that may signal the rumblings of a worldwide revival.

Bryant, who has been leading prayer rallies for 12 years, said another example was a rally in Cleveland in September that was supported by 100 pastors and attended by 7,000 people from different social and economic backgrounds.

The media, Bryant said, exemplified by a January cover story on prayer by Newsweek, has focused on the prayer life of individuals, but the story of large groups coming together for prayer is largely untold. Bryant said he has seen a dramatic increase in group prayer in the last couple of years.

A Youth Movement
A few months ago nearly 1 million teenagers on 40,000 high school campuses joined to pray for revivals in their schools. Last summer 500,000 Koreans marched through the center of Seoul to pray for spiritual renewal.

Bryant frequently quotes scholar Edwin Orr, who wrote: “Whenever God is ready to do something new with His people, He always sets them to praying.”

On Thursday, more evidence of the prayer movement was visible in the thousands of people who participated here and across the country in the National Day of Prayer activities. In 1952, Congress authorized a National Day of Prayer, but this is the first time a president has invited religious leaders to the White House for a service, Vonette Bright said.

Bright founded the National Prayer Committee that was responsible for helping establish a fixed a date for the National Day of Prayer (the first Thursday in May), which was unanimously passed in 1988.

Previously, the date for the day of prayer depended upon the discretion of the president.

Vice President Dan Quayle hosted the White House meeting for President Bush, who had flown to Los Angeles to inspect the riot damage.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, various government leaders met in Cannon Office Building on Capitol Hill to pray for the government, families and the country.

Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson spoke to a breakfast meeting on Tuesday of 150 employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs at New Hope Baptist Church. The breakfast was organized by employees who meet during non-work hours for prayer.

Wednesday evening, prayer leaders met at Calvary Methodist Church in Arlington for a “solemn assembly,” which is the name often used in the Hebrew scriptures for a gathering in which God’s people repent and seek His will for the nation.