A new era in American and human history began at the end of last week, according to self-described apostles and prophets who gathered on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
“There’s never been anything on planet Earth like what’s about to happen,” said host Dutch Sheets at Thursday evening’s opening session, predicting worldwide spiritual revival as well as political and spiritual transformation of the United States as a result of the event and the prayers that preceded it. The death of Billy Graham, whose body rested in the U.S. Capitol during the conference, was described as confirmation of the spiritual significance of the gathering, with Graham’s anointing being placed on a new generation of spiritual warriors.
Joining Sheets at the conference—called “The Turnaround: An Appeal to Heaven”—were Chuck Pierce, Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle and other leaders of the “intercessory prayer” movement, along with 1,300 attendees who filled the Trump hotel’s presidential ballroom to capacity for hours of music, prayer, speaking in tongues, and prophetic decrees. Many of the conference leaders have been working together and supporting one another’s ministries for decades, and they joked and teased each other on stage. But they were utterly serious about their mission in Washington, D.C.
These prayer warriors see themselves as generals in the spiritual warfare that is constantly taking place between the forces of good and evil. From their perspective, the forces of evil in Washington, D.C., include Supreme Court justices who uphold Roe v. Wade and make other “unrighteous” rulings, along with anyone who tries to get in the way of Donald Trump fulfilling his divine mission to bring America into alignment with God, especially those in the “Deep State.”
In announcing the conference last fall, Sheets said he had never seen such intense spiritual warfare over the nation, saying the battle was not about Trump but about “whether the devastation caused by 50 years of anti-Christian activity will be reversed or, God forbid, continue.” He said then, “The antichrist forces are almost rabid in their anger over the potential loss of progress.” Turnaround attendees were in D.C. to be Trump’s spiritual reinforcements.
Sheets and his “Appeal to Heaven” movement had told Christians that the election of Obama was “one of the most devastating occurrences in America in our lifetime” and Sheets warned that the election of Hillary Clinton would finish the job, and “America as we have known it may then be gone forever.” After the 2016 election, Sheets said Trump’s victory was a miracle and a sign of God’s mercy on America. “I think the church just woke up,” he said.
Now, according to conference leaders, it’s time for the church to move from pleading with God to ruling with him—and with Trump, who one speaker described as “the father of this nation.” A speaker from Northern Ireland, Rose Sambrook of Rhema Restoration Ministries, proudly claimed Trump as one of her own. “Your president is a Celt,” she said. “That’s why he’s wild!” She said Trump has the “seeds of revival” in his DNA because his great aunts prayed for five months for revival to come to the island of Lewis decades ago.
The crowd cheered wildly for Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there. Chris Mitchell, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the Christian Broadcasting Network, presented Sheets with a large key representing Jerusalem (keys had major symbolic importance at the conference). Mitchell offered prayers of thanks for Trump, saying his move was “history-making” and “prophecy making.” In a reference to pre-election declarations that Trump would be used by God as a modern-day version of the biblical King Cyrus, Mitchell added, “It’s what King Cyrus did so many centuries and decades ago.”
Trump was also praised for his nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. The courts were a major reason that the apostles and prophets had tried to prevent Barack Obama’s election and re-election, and why they, like other conservative Christian leaders, worked hard to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. Lou Engle, who has prayed for God to sweep the federal judiciary of judges who support abortion rights, said he believes prophetic words he has heard that Neil Gorsuch is just the first of five Supreme Court justices that God will allow Trump to put on the court. A series of prayer leaders called for the realignment or removal of Supreme Court justices who are not aligned with God’s purposes—Sonia Sotomayor was mentioned by name. The prayer warriors also decreed that members of the Senate, especially the Judiciary Committee, would be realigned or removed:
As we noted in our preview of the event, the Turnaround’s organizers are affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement within Pentecostal Christianity that believes God has reinstituted the offices of apostle and prophet that had been lost since the early church. They believe that God grants them, as he did the early apostles, the power to make declarations and decrees that will come to pass on earth. They say that God has given the church—the Ekklesia—governing authority, which is why they often bring down a gavel to punctuate a spoken decree, emphasizing that they are legislating on God’s behalf. Some, like Cindy Jacobs, see their divine assignment as shifting the course of entire nations.
Jacobs brought to the conference a gavel she had bought at the Supreme Court gift shop on an earlier trip to D.C. “We are God’s enforcers in the earth for His will to be done,” she said. God told her it was time to “convene the courts of heaven,” saying the Lord had told her that the Deep State needs to be turned around.
The conference featured an extended period of prayer and decrees against Trump opponents working in government agencies. During a sort of prophetic equivalent of an open mic, a series of speakers declared that God would expose and uproot Never Trumpers who work in the government, that George Soros would lose his money and influence, and that people who have been entrenched in government jobs would be replaced with “an army of young people full of the Holy Spirit.” One decreed that God had given the Ekklesia a mantle “to destroy all God’s enemies and all the enemies of America, in the name of Jesus Christ.”
“Well,” quipped Sheets, “I’d say it’s fixin’ to get messy, isn’t it?”
Jacobs told attendees God had spoken to her at a Miami gathering of thousands of pastors from 60 nations, giving her the word “basta!”—Spanish for “enough!” “We’re here to say ‘basta’” she shouted at the Trump hotel, adding, “Enough of God’s people being attacked! Enough of the photographers and the bakers having to close their shops! Enough of our loss of our religious freedoms! Basta!”
Tim Sheets, Dutch’s brother and apparently an expert on angels, led a prayer on Friday night that God would break “the collusion of hell in our government”:
And Lord, I hear you say tonight, ‘Disregard the fake collusion, and come against the real collusion, and the real colluder.’ We bind the kingdom of darkness and we ask that the strategy of our king and his angel princes that assist us now, would come against the collusion of darkness into our government, that would come against the collusion of darkness into our media, and in the name of Jesus we declare, this Ekklesia declares tonight, that the collusion of hell in its diabolical schemes, to those that are bent in iniquity, will be bound in Jesus name.
Dutch Sheets also prayed that Trump “would accomplish everything Almighty God sent you into that house to do, regardless of who likes it or who doesn’t.” He also predicted that Trump will have “a visitation from heaven” that gives him “an intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ.” Sheets had a warning for those who resist Trump or who want to turn the nation away from its Judeo-Christian roots:
You will fail! … The Ekklesia will take you out. The outpouring of Holy Spirit will take you out. Angels will take you out. You are no match for any of the above. You are no match for father, son, Holy Ghost, or his family or his angel armies. You are no match for his word. You are no match for his prophetic decrees …. So we push you back. And we say your finest hour has come and gone, and the church now rises to the place that he has called us to walk in …. We now rise up and I call that new order into the earth.
Another speaker was a U.S. military officer who Sheets describes as one of his “spiritual sons”—he was not introduced by name–and who described himself as an “unashamed awakening revivalist” who strives to model Christian love to the people who serve under him while engaging in warfare in the spiritual realm. He described speaking to a meeting of an association of Christian colleges and universities and presenting its leader with an Appeal to Heaven flag. But after he spoke, he said, “a law professor from somewhere in the Midwest came up and gave a talk about pluralism, and how America is no longer a Christian nation, and that we just have to learn how to coexist peacefully with Islam, with secular humanism.” Nothing could be further from the truth, the officer said. “America was not founded as Babylon. America was founded to be a new Israel, to be a light and a glory for the promulgation of the gospel, to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to every nation.” He said the spiritual warriors participating in the conference were like the 300 Spartans who held off two million Persians. He urged people to embrace “the nature of the Lord as a man of war” and apply it to their lives so that we don’t have “weak, limp-wristed, cowardly Christianity anymore.” He said that 3 million “awakened Christians” would be enough to turn the tide.
Conference leaders said that the precise moment of their gathering marked a prophesied shift from a period of turmoil—the resistance to Trump’s administration—to a period of turnaround. All their books and conferences, all the millions of prayers of repentance and intercession that people have made over the past 20 or 30 years to save America from the forces of darkness, they said, led to that moment last week in which the shift began.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still work to be done. Cindy Jacobs told participants they’ll still have to fight in 2018 and 2020, but that they will be leaving the conference with new authority granted them by God. Sheets says the body of Christ must continue Appeal to Heaven gatherings at least until 2020, until the “giants ruling America” have been “pulled down” and the three years of turnaround that have been prophesied will have taken place. Participants were encouraged to sign up for Forward, the follow-up conference that will be held in June in Colorado Springs.
Attendees were sent off with a final decree, drawing from one of the many prophetic dreams that were reported to the conference, in which an angel strode into the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives and declared, “America shall be saved!”
Before leaving to go anoint and pray over government buildings, people were encouraged to sign up for Give Him 15, a mobile app that offers daily messages and suggested prayers and decrees. The February 27 message quoted Chuck Pierce talking at the Turnaround about the “acceleration” in “kingdom government” and suggested this prayer:
Father, I believe the Word You have spoken through the prophet Chuck Pierce. Thank you for this servant who is unafraid to say whatever You tell him to say. I believe the Turnaround time is upon us. Your Kingdom government is rising in and through Your Ekklesia. You are filling our mouths with Your Word and Your decrees. I decree that the media will be compelled to report truth! I decree that the President will be exonerated and others will be exposed in their guilt. I decree that those who know what the truth is in the DOJ, FBI, White House and State Department will have a safe way to come forward. The Kingdom of God will permeate the government of man in Jesus name! Amen.