ASHLAND, Ky. (KT) – A retired Kentucky Baptist pastor is organizing a time of prayer and repentance in northeastern Kentucky on Saturday in conjunction with the Prayer March 2020 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., spearheaded by evangelist Franklin Graham.
Johnny Riley, who recently retired as pastor of First Baptist Church in Flatwoods, is asking Christians in the Ashland area to gather in Central Park from 3 to 5 p.m. for a time of prayer.
“As much as many of us would like to be in Washington, D.C., that day, I knew that wasn’t possible because of COVID and other reasons, so why not do it here?” Riley said. “We need to pray and we need to repent as a nation.”
He has rallied Christian leaders in the area the past couple of months to organize the event in the park. While thousands are expected to converge on Washington this weekend for Prayer March 2020, Riley said he hopes for a large turnout of Christians in the park who understand the power of prayer can change the direction of the nation.
Christians from the Tri-State area and beyond are invited to attend and participate, he said.
Riley said it is a non-denominational event with everyone welcome to come and pray. There will be some praise and worship music beginning at 2:45. Eight individuals will lead prayers on the bandstand, with more music between some of the prayers. Mainly though, he said, it was a chance for everyone who comes to fall down and pray before Almighty God.
“We’re not so much worried about the size of the crowd but the heart of the crowd,” Riley said. “We need people who are concerned about the community and who want to bring us back to God. I think it’s hard to look at what’s going on and not think that we don’t need a new experience.”
Riley said the time of prayer is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14 which reads: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Riley said it’s clear that the United States needs healing but it’s not going to happen without a repentant spirit. “We need to acknowledge that we’re going wrong as a nation and we need to repent,” he said. “We need to ask God to transform our community and bring us back to Him. It takes us doing what we’re supposed to do first.”
The national prayer march will be led by Graham who last week in an interview with The Christian Post said, “I don't see our nation able to go much further unless we repent and call upon the name of Almighty God. Republicans cannot fix it; Democrats cannot fix it. Only God can.”