Rapper Kanye West announced that he and his Sunday Service choir will take part in Awaken 2020, a prayer rally featuring dominionists Lou Engle, Ché Ahn, Cindy Jacobs and other evangelists that will be held Saturday, Jan. 18 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. According to one report, West’s announcement sparked such a flood of people registering for free tickets that the event website crashed.
Some religious conservatives believe that West’s highly publicized conversion and his traveling “Sunday Service” will help spark the Great Awakening, a revival that religious-right leaders have been trying to set in motion for years. To them, the Great Awakening is not just about saving souls, but about changing politics and shifting the direction of the nation.
“It’s time for you to be part of the Jesus awakening that is shifting HISTORY,” a website promoting the event reads. “Open the door and enter into a new era, a new decade, of revival that is bringing a movement of signs and wonders, healing of the sick, and preaching of the gospel.”
Like West, many of the rally speakers are ardent supporters of President Donald Trump. Guillermo Maldonado, whose church recently hosted the president at a campaign kickoff for Evangelicals for Trump, has said that God raised up Trump as part of his End Times plans for America.
Awaken 2020 organizer David Herzog also talks about prophecies for the second coming; he believes God is going to trust this generation to bring great signs and wonders and miracles to America because “the harvest is so ripe, it’s so close, and he’s in a hurry to do this.”
Ché Ahn, head of Harvest International Ministry and a leader of the New Apostolic Reformation, says that “true revival includes the reformation of society.” He has promoted political events organized by Christian nationalist David Lane in an effort to “transform” California. He publicly canceled his subscription to Christianity Today after the magazine editorialized in favor of Trump’s impeachment and removal from office. Ahn is a promoter of Seven Mountains dominionism, which teaches that Satan has had control of many of the “mountains” of influence in society—like government, media, entertainment—and that the right kind of Christians need to take control over them. Ahn has talked about the importance of Christians being in charge of the mountain of government so that “we can make decrees and declarations and we can influence that whole mountain.” Ahn, an ardent opponent of LGBTQ equality, co-founded The Call, which organized a series of large-scale political prayer rallies, with Lou Engle.
The Call co-founder, dominionist Lou Engle, has been promoting Awaken 2020, which he said in a promotional video will “open up the dawning of a new day” that could “change history.” Engle teaches that “the church’s vocation is to rule history with God.” He has used his prayer events to call for an end to abortion in America, to mobilize resistance to LGBTQ equality, and to ask God to “remove” pro-choice Supreme Court justices so that President Donald Trump can replace them with justices who will eliminate a right to abortion. In a video promoting Awaken 2020, Engle recalled prophesying at a 1997 event in Sun Devil Stadium that the stadium would be filled, a prophesy that he said was the beginning of The Call. In his own video promoting Awakening 2020, Ahn went back even further and described a 1995 event at which he said two young people prophesied the arrival of “stadium Christianity.”
“Prophet” Cindy Jacobs teaches that there is an imperative to “disciple nations.” On the eve of the 2018 midterms elections, she declared, “We’re going to put people in office that are going to believe that government needs to be upon his shoulders,” adding, “The government of God must be established.” Like Engle, Jacobs is a member of the council of POTUS Shield, a network created on the night of Trump’s election victory to support his presidency. Both she and Engle were part of a spiritual warfare event held at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in February 2018, at which she told her fellow warriors, “We are God’s enforcers in the Earth for His will to be done.” She, too, is a strong opponent of legal abortion and legal equality for LGBTQ people. Last year, Jacobs warned that the proposed Equality Act, which would expand federal civil rights laws to include protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation of gender identity, becomes law, “Christians will rise up” and “we would even come to a place of civil war.” In 2017, Jacobs told a gathering that God wants Christians to become so wealthy it will make Jews jealous, sparking a “great harvest” of Jewish conversions. In 2018, she said, “There’s a reason God brought so many Asians to California. The Lord told us that it was like a hidden weapon, the Asians were like a hidden weapon that God wanted to use to turn the elections.” Jacobs has teamed up with White House aide Paula White for the One Voice Prayer Movement, which launched in November with a prayer call on which White prayed against demonic efforts to undermine Trump.
Awaken 2020 is one of many large-scale tent-and-stadium prayer events being organized by religious-right leaders this year in hopes of sparking evangelical activism and a spiritual revival that will lead to reformation of the church and transformation of society.