Christians from dozens of denominations will assemble to pray Saturday in one of the broadest religious gatherings ever in Spokane.
The event is part of the National Concert of Prayer, which is occurring in more than 200 cities throughout the United States this month.
Christians are gathering to pray for the spiritual needs of local churches as well as the conversion of people in more than 100 non-Christian cities across Asia, the Middle East and West Africa.
In Spokane, pastors and members of Pentecostal, evangelical and mainline churches will preside at the service from 7-9 p.m. at Fourth Memorial Church, 2000 N. Standard.
Black, white and Native American ministers will lead the prayers. A wide representation of faiths is expected to fill the pews, too.
“There’s been such a separation among the denominations,” said Ruth Hamp, organizer of the March for Jesus, as well as the Spokane version of the Concert of Prayer. “I feel like this prayer is going to bring about great healing in the body of Christ, right here in Spokane.”
While many Spokane churches belong to associations that promote inter-denominational alliances, rarely do black and white or evangelical and mainline churches get together.
There often is a lot of mistrust and suspicion between different types of churches, particularly between evangelical and mainline congregations, said the Rev. Dan Grether, a Presbyterian minister.
“Jesus prayed that his church would come together as one,” Grether said. “I think we are seeing some hints of that in a gathering like this.” On a national level, the event is being promoted by several religious leaders. Organizers have sent thousands of representatives to the various cities marked for conversion, to walk the streets and pray for the residents.
Evangelists call the targeted cities the “10-40 window,” because they are between 10 degrees and 40 degrees north of the equator.
Some of the cities American Christians will pray for are well-known such as Jerusalem and Tehran. Others, like Pyongyang, North Korea, are relatively obscure to many Westerners. All the cities are home to more than one million residents.
“The 10-40 window is significant, because if a person is born in that window today, they probably would not in their lifetime discover who Jesus Christ is,” said Michael Little, chairman of the project and president of the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia.
Locally, organizers hope to focus on the needs of Spokane as much as the needs of cities on the other side of the world.
“The more we get together and pray, the more things will start happening right here in Spokane,” Grether said. “It’s amazing what can happen at a prayer summit.”
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MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: SERVICE Concert of Prayer service Saturday from 7-9 p.m. at Fourth Memorial Church, 2000 N. Standard.