In January as we marked the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., I traveled to St.Louis, Missouri to meet Lou Engle, Jonathan Tremaine Thomas and nearly 100 black leaders from across the nation.
We were there to pray and strategize as how to best minister to the nation in times of racial tension.
Photo: Paul Hocksenar / Flickr
During our visit we went to several historic sites, including the gravesite of Dred Scott, and we prayed together in the city of Ferguson for national healing over past injustice.
At one point in prayer, I glanced down at Lou Engle’s arm. I saw his Life Band had lost much of its color from consistent wear.
The faded band showed Lou’s faithfulness and commitment to keeping covenant with God. It symbolized his actions of long obedience in the same direction, as author Eugene Peterson speaks of.
His red Life Band was so faded, the word “Life” was no longer visible (Photo: Jared Olsen)
I received my first Life Band in my early 20’s while visiting Washington, DC. I’d come with a group of girls to pray for the ending of abortion. The band was made of paper then; they were printed off by the dozens in a room at Justice House of Prayer DC.
Like a good intercessor I didn’t just wear the band, I prayed the 22-word prayer that God gave Lou Engle. It was a prayer that was to replace the 22-word prayer taken out of schools by the 1962 Supreme Court case Engel v. Vitale. Engel took school-sanctioned prayer out, and Engle wrote a prayer to mobilize the masses.
I wore a band from 2005 to 2012 while I was a part of JHOP DC and as an intercessor at IHOP Atlanta where I led a Bound4LIFE chapter. In 2012, my life changed and a short trip home to rest from ministry became a relocation. In the transition process from ministry to home life, I took the band off.
I continued to pray for the ending of abortion and worked to save the lives of pre-born children. Since I was loving Jesus and doing pro-life works, I figured I didn’t need to wear a Life Band anymore. I told myself it was a different season and with that came a new way of doing things.
Christina Marie Bennett and Natalie Brumfield pray together for the ending of abortion (Photo Courtesy of Author)
At times I also questioned the things I once believed so strongly. Would God really end abortion in America, as slavery was ended?
In my early 20’s, you couldn’t have told me otherwise—yet as I grew older, I wondered if it was enough to just believe for an abortion doctor to stop practicing or a clinic to shut down.
This past Valentine’s Day weekend, I went to Atlanta to celebrate the International House of Prayer’s 10-year anniversary of 24/7 prayer.
During a time of prayer, IHOP Atlanta leader Billy Humphrey prophesied over me that the mandates I carried in my 20’s were ones God still wanted me to carry in my 30’s. He declared a grace for ‘governmental intercession’ on my life.
Christina Marie Bennett speaks at IHOP-Atlanta during the group’s tenth anniversary gathering (Photo: Rachel Bullard)
My heart was moved, and I knew it was time to put the Life Band back on. I asked Elisabeth Marshall, leader of Bound4LIFE Atlanta, for a new one. I placed the bright red band back on my right wrist and prayed, “Jesus, I plead your blood over my sins and the sins of my nation. God, end abortion and send revival to America.”
The very next day, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was pronounced dead. In a moment, the nation was thrust into one of the biggest battles our generation may ever see over a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Sovereign God who led me to DC a decade ago to put on a Life Band and pray for the Supreme Court, moved me to put a band back on the day before the Court lost an invaluable pro-life justice.
A small group of people is currently praying every day in front of the U.S. Supreme Court (Photo: Aaron Wong / Bound4LIFE)
What if God is asking for many to put their bands back on? Maybe, like me, you felt your season has changed and your past prayers were sufficient. I urge you to reenter the fight.
Maybe you’ve never taken your band off, but your heart has grown weary in waiting for justice. I remind you that the God who hears prayer is just and His justice will not sleep forever.
Perhaps you read updates from Bound4LIFE, but have never worn a Life Band. I want you to know that wearing a band isn’t some cool pro-life thing. The band was prophetically confirmed to a company of people seeking God’s heart on how to heal this nation.
Art illustration by Carolina Marquez
Whoever you are and whatever your circumstance, know that we as a church must join together to pray. When we put aside our differences and pray as brothers and sisters, we’ll see victory in our land.
The Life Band is red, as is the blood that Jesus spilled. May we lift up our bands and plead his blood over our sins and the sins of our nation. A united church can heal a divided land.
God, end abortion—and send revival to America.