Forty-Two Days of Worship Ends Near White House

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WASHINGTON -- A rare event is coming to an end in the nation's capital: 42 consecutive days of worship bursting forth from a white tent located just a few hundred yards from the White House.

That temporary structure is called David's Tent, named after the tent King David built so worship could flow non-stop from Jerusalem.

It came from a vision born last year of worshippers gathering any place in or near Washington, D.C., to praise God without ceasing for 40 days and nights.

But these ministers of music had never planned to end up right on the White House Ellipse, the huge circular field located within earshot of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It's about as close to the center of secular world power as one can get.

"The National Park Service actually suggested to us the White House Ellipse, so we just felt like through that whole circumstance that God was screaming at us, 'I want to be central in America,'" organizer Jason Hershey told CBN News.

This year, the non-stop worship went a little longer: 42 days. That allowed 1,000 straight hours of worship.

The National Park Service helped the David's Tent worshippers to be here again this year, and they've already greased the skids for next year. That's when Hershey and his friends plan to take it up a notch.

"We really feel like God said 50 days -- one day for every state," Hershey said of the 2014 David's Tent. "I've already met with the National Park Service and they've already given me the preliminary permitting for 50 days next year."

Alexandra McDonald came all the way up from Chesapeake, Va., to serve and to sing full-time at this year's David's Tent.

Last year, she said the anointing was all about joy, zeal, and taking a stand for God. But this year it's been all about peace, including with the authorities.

"Last year, before we came, they weren't sure who we were," McDonald said of those authorities. "They thought we were going to be another Occupy Wall Street."

"The Lord has really marked this event, this David's Tent this year with peace and a lot of favor with the Secret Service, favor with the Park Police," she added. "Every day we'll have a Secret Service agent come up here and we'll get to pray with him."

One stunning time this year was the government shutdown when everything else around these worshippers closed down and went silent.

Hershey described how he felt as that happened.

"Everything else gets shut down, even the government is shut down. But the 24-7 worship tent doesn't stop," he said.

Allen Avery of Shady Side, Md., came by David's Tent last year and fell so in love with the event he decided to become a regular.

He said he believes there's real power in the constant praise.

"I believe it does change and shift atmospheres," Avery told CBN News. "And that's what we're here to do. We're saying God's presence wants to invade us: Washington D.C., our world, our state, our nation."

He noted that while many believers came by, plenty of non-believers were also pulled in by the sweet presence that hovered over the place.

"They might not know the Lord, but they just come in and receive. And they'll wave at you and say, 'Hi, how are you?'" Avery said.

"They just love it. They love the worship because worship brings people in," he said. "And I just believe God's presence is so strong, He can minister to people's hearts whether they know Him or not."

Some have come to know God at David's Tent -- one in an extraordinary way, according to Hershey.

"One of our girls one night chased somebody down on the Ellipse as they were walking away; chased him down, pulled him back, witnessed to him," Hershey recalled. "He came back the next night and gave his life to Jesus."

Now the David's Tent worshippers want to transform not just individuals, but a city, maybe a nation.

"We're just praying, saying, 'God, help us mobilize the nation next year, that a national call could go out that literally this city could be redefined and known for a place to gather and praise the name of the Lord,'" Hershey 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.