WASHINGTON – Just after Islamic terrorists crashed jetliners into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001, several national Christian figures drew widespread criticism for suggesting the attack on America may have been an indication of God’s judgment on the country.
They thought the devastating attacks by America’s enemies might have been successful because of the nation’s willful abandonment of God and His principles.
But no one dared make that case again until 2012, when a then-obscure messianic rabbi from New Jersey wrote a book, “The Harbinger,” that became a New York Times bestseller.
Jonathan Cahn not only repeated the suggestion, but provided persuasive evidence to make the case.
Ever since then, he’s been preaching his warning with fervor. He did so again on the 15th anniversary of 9/11 at an event in Washington, where there was a call for prayer and repentance by believers in America as the only way to restore peace, prosperity and justice in the land.
Cahn is well known for his passionate messages – from the “Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast” in 2013 to the annual “Washington: A Man of Prayer” event at the Capitol building in the spring.
“As ancient Israel turned away from her God and His ways, so, too, has America,” he said Sunday night.
“Today we in America stand at a precipice,” he said in a stirring indictment of American culture and politics that has resulted from the rejection of the God of the Bible. He called on Christian believers to follow the prescription of 2 Chronicles 7:14 for humility, repentance and national revival.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,” it reads.
It was the theme of the event as it has been of previous 9/11 memorials on the mall.
The idea of a 9/11 day of prayer and repentance was first proposed by WND Founder and CEO Joseph Farah and Cahn shortly after the release of his first New York Times bestselling book, “The Harbinger,” shook the nation’s spirit to the core – along with the No. 1 bestselling documentary movie version of the story, “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment.”
“There’s a lot of prayer going on in America today,” wrote Farah. “Of that I have no doubt. But it’s not the right kind of prayer. It’s not the kind God hears. It’s not offered in total humility. It’s not done with sufficient fervency, intensity and frequency. And, most of all, it’s not done in the spirit of total repentance for the sin that abounds not just in the world but in the lives of all believers. I include myself in this condemnation, so do not take it personally.”
Farah urged pastors to take up the challenge and one did: The idea was adopted and became a reality through the work of David Kubal, president of Intercessors of America, who has worked tirelessly every year since to make the event bigger and better.
Other ministries have joined the effort – Cry Out America, America’s National Prayer Committee, National Day of Prayer, Truth at Work and Call 2 Fall – and carried the vision through to fulfillment.
There were a myriad of 9/11 prayer gatherings held around the country this year. President Obama even proclaimed September 9-11, 2016, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance.
Prayer and remembrance are good things, Cahn told WND in an exclusive interview, but they are not sufficient alone.
“As far as the president’s announcement on 9/11, he spoke about a call for prayer and remembrance and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that,” Cahn said. “Prayer is always right, so that was good. But there’s very little about, really, God and turning to God. And there’s very little about repentance, which is really even more important. We can have all the days of prayer and remembrance, but if we don’t change our course, in the end it means nothing.”
Cahn recalled the many calls for prayer and remembrance in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. For about three weeks after the attacks, it looked to Cahn like there could be a national revival in America. However, there was one missing ingredient.
“There was no revival, because there was no repentance,” the rabbi said. “And without repentance, there can be no revival. Without a changing of course, we cannot change the outcome of where we are headed. Not only did we not return to God as a nation, but America has grown worse, has departed from God much more deeply than before, since 9/11.”Cahn said this national response follows the pattern he outlined in “The Harbinger.”
“The pattern is that there was a warning strike and this is really a call to come back to God, but ancient Israel did not come back to God,” he said. “They got worse, they became more defiant, they went against His ways, moreso and moreso and moreso, until they were judged and until the destruction came.
“America is following the same pattern outlined in ‘The Harbinger.’ And that is there is the warning, the shaking, but instead of turning back, we have grown far more ungodly than before. On the day of 9/11, there wasn’t one state in the union that had redefined the biblical definition of marriage; not one. Now it is the law of the land. We have grown worse in immorality.”
Cahn pointed out Americans are now calling what is sinful good while simultaneously calling what is good evil. Therefore, the country is racing towards judgment.
That is where the 9/11 Day of Prayer and Repentance comes in. The annual events give Cahn hope that America may yet turn back to God.
“It is a great thing that there are across this land gatherings, calls for prayer and repentance on 9/11, intercession for the sins of America, for turning back,” he said. “So that’s a great encouragement that that’s happening on 9/11 and other days throughout the year that there is that burden among God’s people. Is it enough? I don’t know that. God’s mercy is greater. He would have spared Sodom for 10 people. At the same time, is it enough? I don’t know that.
“There needs to be much more because to this point America is not just continuing in its departure from God, it’s racing, it’s accelerating. We can sense it. It’s accelerating. It’s like a ball that’s on top of the hill and been pushed over and it is rolling down and it is not losing speed, it’s picking up speed. At this point, it will not take another activist president to accelerate this. It’s already accelerating. All we need is a leader who will not stop it and it will continue to accelerate. So we are in desperate need of the hand of God and we are in desperate need of revival.”
All across the country this weekend, believers answered the call of 2 Chronicles 7:14 to humble themselves, repent and pray for national revival. Cry Out America, an initiative of the Awakening America Alliance, organized people of faith around the country to gather at state capitols, county courthouses, churches and community centers to pray for a spiritual awakening in America.
This year, Cry Out America gatherings were held all around the nation, including at the following locations:
- Unity Baptist Church, Dent Chapel AME Church, Faith Creek United Methodist and Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church in the Newnan, Georgia area
- Westwood Baptist Church in Cleveland, Tennessee
- Appanoose County Courthouse at the Bandstand in Centerville, Iowa
- Macoupin County Courthouse in Carlinville, Illinois
- Macon House of Prayer in Macon, Georgia
- The old courthouse building in Perry, Georgia
- Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia
- Community Ambulance in Zanesville, Ohio
- Hamilton County Courthouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Love’s Way Church in Lebanon, Tennessee
Cahn sees a prophetic connection between “The Harbinger” and the many gatherings of prayer and repentance all over the country.
“Ever since ‘The Harbinger’ came out, there have been people responding to it by starting movements of prayer and movements of repentance,” the rabbi said. “The Lord used ‘The Harbinger’ to open the door to Capitol Hill to have a gathering every year called ‘Washington: A Man of Prayer,’ where there’s prayer, there’s repentance. ‘The Harbinger’ is a trumpet call, and it’s a call and a warning of judgment, and so the natural reaction for those who are in the Lord is to pray and intercede just like the prophets. So there seems to be something prophetic that here, 15 years later, it seems the connection is even more strong where you have believers coming together for prayer and interceding.”
Cahn continued: “At the same time, other believers are seeing where America is heading and warning what is happening to America that we are racing to judgment. That also plays into the whole picture, so there is a very strong urgency for prayer. I just spoke on the National Mall last night with a gathering called David’s Tabernacle. A tent has been set up on the National Mall for prayer and repentance, and that began last year on 9/11.
“It all kind of is coalescing. I believe this is itself a sign of the situation we’re in and the very critical point America’s in that God’s people are feeling an increased burden that we must pray, we must repent, we must intercede if America is not going to be judged.”