Christians Intercede for Nation's Leaders at RNC, DNC

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Politics: that's the concern of many in and around the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., this week. But for an increasing number, it's becoming spiritual.

Prayer groups are becoming more visible as Christian Americans work toward helping a nation in crisis.

Rev. Jesten Peters, with Pray Tampa Bay and other prayer warriors, want believers across the nation to commit to praying 15 minutes a day for the party conventions while they're in session.

"We want to cover the conventions, both the Republican and the Democratic one, with prayer," Peters told CBN News.

Tampa's Camille McWhirter and Leighann Cosmo have been interceding for the nation's leaders since 1999.

"It started with prayer around this table with four or five women," McWhirter said.

Camille said she had no desire to be an intercessor until an extraordinary series of late nights in 1999.

"I started getting up about 3 o'clock in the morning," McWhirter recalled. "And I'd find myself on my face before the Lord, weeping and crying out for our nation."

That sense of urgency swept their prayer circle and beyond, birthing Conventions Prayer Coverage, an effort to organize around-the-clock, non-partisan intercession for political leaders of both parties.

"The problems are so great, only the Lord can help us," Cosmo said. "Only the Lord can solve these problems."

"We're bypassing candidates and we're going up here," McWhirter said, looking towards the heavens. "And we're going back to God and He can turn the hearts of either one of them."

Some 4,000 people have committed to this prayer effort.

"We're not like praying for one party to get in or another or whatever," Rev. Peters said. "It's all that we get Jesus and God in our country again."

Leaders like Family Research Council President Tony Perkins feel it's desperately needed to turn back a growing assault on the nation's Christians.

Both the FRC and the Liberty Institute have put out a thick report documenting the attacks.

"(There are) over 600 religious hostility cases," Perkins said. "It's alarming and I think Americans need to know that our first freedom is in jeopardy."

There's a reason this report's release came on the cusp of a national political convention.

"There needs to be a party, a people who will stand up and defend religious freedom," Perkins said.

In her new book, Eagle Forums's Phyllis Schlafly said secularists seem to be saying to those active in their religion, "get it out of sight."

"I sometimes say they want to treat Christians like smokers: 'You can do it in your own home, but not our in public,'" said Schlafly.

Perkins said this new study on religious hostility shows a frightening trend -- but also hope.

"The warning is the attacks are not on the decrease, they're on the increase.  But the good news is when we stand up, most of the time, we prevail," Perkins said.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.