RJ Womack Comment: Well, is anybody really surprised that this is happening?
About 200 people gathered around the beleaguered Ten Commandments monument at the state Capitol on Friday to pray for an outpouring of the Lord’s love and healing in Oklahoma.
A group from the North American Youth Congress, a Pentecostal youth conference, lay hands on the Ten Commandments monument and pray Friday on the north steps of the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. The prayer event, which drew 24,000 people, was part of the youth gathering’s Project [22:39], based on Matthew [22:39]. [Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman]
They sang hymns and at one point chanted “Jesus!” several times. The prayer session ended with many in the crowd laying hands on the monument and praying.
“This ought to be a shock wave in the supernatural,” the Rev. Rob Wyatt, pastor of The Paseo Apostolic Church, told the crowd. “Something’s getting ready to happen.”
The prayer gathering was held as part of the North American Youth Congress meeting, which drew an estimated crowd of 24,000 youths, their parents and adult advisers to the Chesapeake Energy Arena and Cox Convention Center Wednesday through Friday.
Wyatt said the prayer event on the north steps of the Capitol near the Ten Commandments monument was not meant as a political statement or protest but rather an opportunity to encourage young people to exercise the power of prayer.
“We’re not here to get in the face of any politician,” he said. “It seems like our whole country is kicking God out. We just want to declare that God is the center of our lives.”
Wyatt said the youth gathering is held every two years in what the organizers consider a midsize city. He said the median age of attendees at the event, hosted by the general youth division of the United Pentecostal Church International, was 19.
Wyatt said he was the coordinator of Project [22:39], which brought together 750 youth congress attendees for activities like the prayer gathering and an effort to paint and cleanup portions of Bricktown. The project also included the creation of colorful place mats for young patients at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital.
Wyatt said the project is based on Scripture, Matthew [22:39], which encourages Christians to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Satanic Temple, ‘black mass’
He said the prayer gathering at the Capitol was seen as a way to come together to pray against Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma seemingly becoming a focal point for Satanism. He referred to the 2014 “black mass” led by a metro area Satanists and the New York-based Satanic Temple’s application to install a monument of Satan near the Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol.
“We’re believing that God’s going to do something amazing. We’re hoping some strongholds are going to break and we’re really hoping our state will turn to God,” Wyatt said.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court recently ruled that the Ten Commandments monument must be removed because its presence at the Capitol violates the state constitution.
Several of the attendees said they enjoyed the youth gathering.
“All these youths worshiping together is amazing,” said Rachel Bryant, 19, of Batesville, Miss.
Another participant shared similar thoughts.
“This is the age where you’re figuring out what to do for the rest of your life. It’s just me, God and the other 19,000 people. It’s amazing,” said Ashley Leslie, 20, of Houston, Texas.
Mike Carrier, president of the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau, thanked the attendees who participated in the Project [22:39] activities for giving back to the local community during their stay.
In an interview with The Oklahoman, Carrier said the conference brought thousands of visitors to the city, which correlates to several million dollars of direct spending.
“Obviously, that’s a lot of hotel rooms, restaurant meals, visits to the grocery story and retail shopping, so it means a lot to the community because groups like this do spend money.”
Meanwhile, in addition to Bible teaching and praise and worship sessions and the community service projects, the young people participated in the North American Bible Quiz Tournament in which teams competed for Bible memorization awards.
Wyatt said participants came from all over the country and around the world, including from Canada, South America, Mexico, South Africa and Europe. He said there are 118 United Pentecostal Church International affiliated churches in Oklahom