ASHLAND, Ohio — Hundreds of Christians recently gathered in a field in Ashland, Ohio as ministry leaders and elected officials called the people to prayer and repentance. During the event, Ashland Mayor Matt Miller dedicated the city to Jesus Christ, and County Commissioner Emmitt Justice asked God to forgive the nation for its rebellion against Him.
“As I stand before you tonight, in the bright light of His Son, to the extent I am able, I give this city of Ashland to the Lord Jesus Christ,” Miller proclaimed. “May this be a land where He rules supreme. May this be a land where His love is genuinely felt by believers and non-believers alike.”
According to Frontlines Ohio, 25 churches associated with the Ashland County Ministerial Association participated in the “Call to Sacred Assembly” at Freer Field. The event was organized as a response to the ongoing COVID pandemic, as it was noted that people were looking to politicians for answers, when they should be looking to the Lord.
“We’d been talking about, ‘What is the proper response to the crisis that we’re in?'” John Bouquet, pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Savannah, told the Times-Gazette. “And we’ve sure heard plenty of political and medical responses, but we felt like we needed a spiritual response.”
He explained that the organizers looked to the Book of Joel as their pattern for the gathering.
“A sacred assembly, if you take a peek in the Bible at Joel 1:13-14, is a public calling for repentance from our sins and consecration unto God,” Bouquet outlined. “Because He’s our healer. He’s the reconciler of all human relationships that go wrong. He’s the answer for every question that we have, and faith is to replace fear. And that’s what this event is.”
The various speakers spoke on issues surrounding the family, community and government, pointing to Scripture as a guide.
“I ask on behalf of the commissioners and all the county officials that you would forgive us for the rebellion of the people of our land. We have all sinned,” prayed Commissioner Emmitt Justice.
State Rep. Darrell Kick told those gathered that there is a group of lawmakers who meet for Bible study before a vote.
“I am not aware of another district where the mayor commits the city to Jesus Christ and a county commissioner asks forgiveness for the sins of the county,” he also joyed.
Dr. Carlos Campos, president of Ashland University and Theological Seminary, additionally spoke to those gathered, noting that schools of higher learning have not truly sought truth.
“Join me to repent where universities across this country have failed to follow their mission to pursue truth to its final end which can lead to only one thing: the embodiment of truth, and that is Jesus Christ,” he said.
Bouquet says that the Ministerial Association also plans to organize a “Prayer Force,” in which pastors will visit various churches on weekdays in September to pray for revival.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God instructed, “If My people, who 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.”