Christian singer-songwriters Michael W. Smith and Mark Hall spoke Saturday on the National Mall for Together 2016, a massive prayer of evangelical Christians.
Smith and Hall told the crowd that a time has come for American Christians to turn back to God and allow him to heal a broken country facing a "storm" of political division and social tension, the Christian Post reported.
A reset mark was centerstage—because it's the reset Jesus offers that is our unity and hope.#JesusChangesEverythingpic.twitter.com/7IpHczeZIm— Together 2016 (@JesusIsTheReset) July 16, 2016
Thousands of people of all colors and backgrounds participated in Together 2016, which placed an emphasis on unity in prayer and fellowship as opposed to denominational differences. The event featured 40 prominent Christian musicians and speakers, including Ravi Zacharias, Christine Cane, Francis Chan, Lecrae and Trip Lee.
After their performances Saturday morning, grammy-winning Smith and Hall, a youth pastor who founded the contemporary Christian group Casting Crowns, addressed questions from the media.
Last one. Special day. Washington DC day of prayer @JesusIsTheResetpic.twitter.com/b2eBoIMJYL— Mark Hall (@markhallCC) July 17, 2016
"I was already sold on this event a long time ago with Nick," Smith said of the gathering, which was five years in the making. Evangelical leader Nick Hall was Together's chief organizer. "I think it is interesting the timing of the event in lieu of all the things that have been going on the last month."
"I think something is shifting today," he continued. "I believe it with every fiber of my being that something strategic is going to happen in the heavenlies. I just believe it. Just because I think the intent of this event is pure and everybody's motivation is pure. We are unified. It's not about anybody having their time on stage."
In the wake of national tragedies like the Orlando terror attack, the Dallas police shootings and multiple police-involved killings, Smith emphasized that the time has come for Christians to invite Jesus into the public square.
"For America, we kicked the Healer out," he said. "We kicked him out. We kicked him out of the school. We kicked him out of the public square. I think it is time to invite him back in. Whether the government does that or not, we are going to do our part. … We are going to cry out to God and say, 'Would you respond to what is happening today?'"
When asked how Together 2016 differed from other church revival events he has worked with in the past, Smith said that a sense of "urgency" is present "like never before."
"I have never seen our nation in this state," he said. "You can probably go back to Billy Graham and he would probably say the same thing. We all have these monumental things that happen — good and bad — and we respond to it."
Hall shared Smith's sentiments. Casting Crowns, a band made up entirely of youth pastors, opened their performance with the song "Praise You in the Storm."
"It was really special for us because that is sort of where our country is right now," Hall, the lead singer for Casting Crowns, told the Post. "It is in a bit of a storm and a lot of people are hurting. It felt like everyone just came together and prayed it together."
| Powerful | a GENERATION calling out to God asking for a Reset for our Nation!#Together2016#JesusChangesEverythingpic.twitter.com/1Obz5MsQnc— JosiahMON (@JosiahKennealy) July 16, 2016
"To see people pull together with Jesus in the front, there would be so much more healing beyond just a moment," he added. "To me, it is something that God saw coming and saw that we were going to need, and I believe He is going to use it. I hope the world gets to see through me how many people are out there. … I hope the world sees how many people were praying for them."
Though the projected turnout was an estimated one million people, Hall stressed the profound ways in which an event like Together can influence the country.
"When enough of us like me get together, we can make a mess," he said. "If we all just open up and say to God, 'Alright God, what would it look like if You had all of me?' That is what the prayer was about last night in that prayer time. All those people — leaders, artists, singers, authors and speakers — saying 'God, what would that look like?' That's what we want to see."