As America lurches from one crisis to the next, 2020 seems like a year of reckoning for our national sins. This year also happens to be the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in the New World. What better time is there to plead for the Lord's forgiveness, and what better place is there to do it than at the place where it all began?
Last night, Pastor Carter Conlon of Times Square Church in New York City hosted Lord Forgive Us, a livestreamed prayer meeting from a house that was built on the very foundation of the very first house ever built by the Pilgrims in America at Lot #1 America in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Pastor Conlon set the tone of the event with a question: "What have we done with the 400 years of freedom that the Lord gave us?" He then brought forward eight sins that our nation has committed "to the throne of God [to] ask Him for forgiveness for."
First was our treatment of the native people: "We did not honor [or] value that relationship ... God, help us to make right all the wrongs that we committed against the people who welcomed us into their homes and taught us how to survive in this new and strange environment ... God, help the native first nations people to be healed of the wounds that we caused."
Second was the sin of slavery: "We took a whole race of people and made slaves out of them ... We did it all in some parts of this country even in the name of God ... You gave us freedom, and we took freedom away from a whole race of people ... We set them free but only reluctantly after our sons and daughters had died by the thousands in battlefields. We sent them out after setting them free without provision, without care, and without compassion ... Lord, give us the grace to make right this wrong ... Bring us to a place of unity that we've never been as a nation."
Pastor Conlon went on to ask for forgiveness for the sin of "opening ourselves to the gross immorality that came to the nation with the entertainment industry," of the "lust for pleasure without responsibility" through sexual relationships outside of marriage, of abortion, of sowing confusion in our children through the radicalization of the education system, of the distortion of the institution of marriage, and of electing "people to many levels of public office who despise You and who mock Your words."
"We turn to You, Lord, with all our heart ... we ask for a moment of mercy again in our nation," Pastor Conlon prayed. "We ask You to push back this flood of darkness and let light and life prevail again ... We have not obeyed your voice, but tonight here we are, in obedience to you, confessing our wrong and our fault before you."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined the prayer event and imparted a message of hope: "God has blessed our country mightily. Among those blessings is our religious freedom. It endures at the heart of our American republic ... The book of James urges to pray with no doubting, 'for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.' So let's pray today, with no doubting. Let's prayerfully rejoice in God's special providence of our country. Let's pray for unity and strength during these trying times."
Huron Claus, a Native American and President of Chief, Inc. illustrated the importance of prayer through song: "Prayer means a lot to our native people. This song says we come from many different tribes, many different languages. But when we get to heaven, we are going to sing one song. We are going to praise God with one tongue, one praise."
FRC President Tony Perkins joined the event and asked a probing question based upon Revelation 2:4: "Have we lost our first love?" In prayer, he issued a challenge to pastors: "God, we return to this spot because we want to recover what we've lost. Our first love. Our zeal. Our reverence for You. As a result of losing it, we have become a nation gripped by fear ... many pulpits have shrunk back [in] the face of cancel culture, choosing silence over speaking truth. Lord, forgive us. May the pulpits, the pastors, lead us in returning to our first love. And as we do, may You restore our boldness, our courage, our zeal to live for something greater than ourselves, to live for You."
Be sure to watch the entire Lord Forgive Us livestream event that also featured powerful prayers from believers from all walks of life, including former congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, Messianic Christian pastor and author Jonathan Cahn, NYPD police officer Christian Guity, New York state middle school principal Isabel Hernendez, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Kevin Jessip, great-great-grandson of the Pilgrim's pastor John Robinson, 11th grade high school student Tabitha Busch, director of the pro-life organization Love Life NY Lisa Washington, president of Summit International School of Ministry Dr. Teresa Conlon, TV news writer Thomas Busch, and attorney Michelle Tong, among others.