Praying to Protect Liberties
AG links with Alliance Defending Freedom on prayer initiative to safeguard faith-based rights.In an ongoing effort to emphasize the importance of the need for prayer, the Assemblies of God has become a partner in the Generational Wins Prayer Initiative launched by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the world’s largest legal religious freedom organization.
Marcus C. Harris joined ADF in February 2021 as director of the organization’s new prayer initiative. Harris says the effort is an outgrowth of ADF’s concern to protect religious liberties in a shifting cultural mores landscape. ADF attorneys have been victorious in 14 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court in the past 11 years.
“We are thankful for the court cases God has blessed us to win, but we also recognize the need for hearts and minds to be changed in order to keep the doors open for the gospel for generations to come,” says Harris, 38.
Citing Psalm 145:4, Harris says it’s important for one generation to preserve faith-based freedoms for future generations.
For instance, while ADF lauds the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in June, a complete victory won’t be realized until all states implement legislation protecting the unborn, according to Harris, who is based in ADF’s Lansdowne, Virginia, office.
The ADF has identified five key areas in which “generational wins” are crucial:
• Guaranteeing the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.
• Ensuring that religious freedoms prevail.
• Defending free speech and association for all.
• Protecting God’s created order of marriage, family, and human sexuality.
• Securing parental rights in the education of their children.
A crucial element of changing hearts and minds is prayer. Harris says the initiative hopes to enlist millions of engaged and informed Christians who will pray regularly for the cause of safeguarding liberties for future Americans.
“We’re appealing to the God of all creation to preserve these freedoms,” Harris says. “We want to make our appeal to heaven, not just to the courts.”
ADF is partnering with different ministries, organizations, denominations, and prayer-minded individuals to mobilize and equip Christians. That includes the Assemblies of God.
Rick W. DuBose, assistant general superintendent of the Fellowship, resonates with the goals of ADF’s prayer initiative.
“In these times, we’re seeing so many kinds of anti-child and anti-family agendas that we’ve never dealt with at this kind of level before,” says DuBose, the driving force behind the AG World Prayer Center, which opened earlier this year in Springfield, Missouri.
DuBose reiterates that current societal upheavals call for the special type of prayer Jesus referred to in Mark 9:28-29. Contending with such fierce opposition isn’t solved by a one-time recitation of prayer, DuBose says.
“We’re in a place that only a managed place of prayer deals with the problems,” says DuBose, 65. “The connotation of this passage indicates it takes a house of prayer, unified prayer, consistent prayer, a place of prayer. We have to get together, pray in agreement, build an altar, and keep the fire burning.”
Harris grew up in a single-parent small-town Georgia home and frequently attended Pentecostal and charismatic church services. His grandmother Ruby Harris did the bulk of raising him, while his mother, Eunice Harris, held down at least two — and sometimes three — jobs.
He sensed a call to ministry at 17 and assumed it would involve working at a church. But after graduating from Liberty University with a bachelor’s degree in ministry, Harris went to work for Dean Nelson, who operates the Frederick Douglass Foundation in Washington, D.C.
In 2009, Harris married his wife, Cathy, whom he met when they both spoke at a pro-life conference. The couple have four children and the family attends Chapel Springs Church, an AG congregation in Bristow, Virginia.
Harris, who has a master’s degree in public policy from George Mason University, stresses that the ADF effort to inform and engage Christians isn’t designed primarily as an effort to enlist Christians to pray for the religious liberties organization.
“Ultimately we are praying to see a great spiritual renewal in America,” Harris says. “All big revivals in church history began with unified prayer by Christians hungry for spiritual renewal.”
Kristen K. Waggoner, recently named the president of the ADF, which has 90 full-time attorneys, also serves as legal counsel for the Assemblies of God. Waggoner is a graduate of the AG’s Northwest University and the daughter of longtime AG pastor and educator Clint Behrends.