Some Christians believe the controversial 2000 election was determined by an army of intercessors.The tumultuous 2000 presidential election brought some new terms into Christian awareness: repentance, fasting and prayer.
One of the main reasons was a man named Dutch Sheets, pastor of Springs Harvest Fellowship in Colorado Springs, Colo. In an interview with Charisma, Sheets detailed the call to intercession that swept across his congregation on Oct. 4, 2000, during a Wednesday evening service. "God spoke to us about the battle over the coming election," Sheets remembers, "saying that if the election had been held then, His man would not win."
The next Friday, Sheets shared this call through an e-mail that reached thousands of Christians across the country. "It was incredible to me how the body of Christ picked this up and ran with it," Sheets says. "If God had not done what He had in the previous 10 years of networking prayer in this nation, I don't think it would have happened."
Sheets says the call to prayer was nonpartisan. "I don't put my faith in a party or a person," he says. "My prayer was, 'God, give us a president who will have Your heart and help turn this nation back to You.'"
Meanwhile, in Florida, a statewide network of intercessors quietly prepared for an anticipated but as-yet-undefined battle. Jonathan Benz, pastor of prayer and outreach at Covenant Centre International Church in West Palm Beach, says the Holy Spirit spoke to him in July 1998 that Palm Beach County would be pivotal in determining who would sit in the White House during the next presidential term.In August 1998 the church began praying for the 2000 election and even began sending intercessors from Florida to Washington, to pray at the Capitol. Benz also began networking with prayer ministries across his state. By the time the election took place, there were prayer ministries in 55 out of 67 counties in Florida.
In September 1999, Chuck Pierce, president of Glory of Zion Ministries in Denton, Texas, shared with Benz's congregation a prophetic word that the eyes of the world would be on West Palm Beach in the near future. Pierce also told them that if the intercessors would pray with authority they could turn the nation in the right direction.
"We heeded the prophetic words we'd been receiving for two years, so we weren't surprised when these events came about," says Benz, speaking of the election crisis that put Palm Beach County in the news. What difference did all these prayer efforts make? "If the church had not prayed, I don't believe we would have had an inauguration in January," Benz says. "We were heading down a road toward a constitutional crisis."
Sheets believes that our nation is going to begin to see the fulfillment of 2 Chronicles 7:14 because of the prayer, fasting and repentance that has taken place. "There must come a more sustained prayer movement in America that is part of our normal, everyday lives," Sheets says. "If this takes place, then I believe we're going to see incredible breakthroughs in the next year or two."