Group raises money for September revival featuring Billy Graham's daughter

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On Tuesdays, women gather in a former salon off Washington Road to fall on their knees and pray.

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Blanche Conger (from left), Jacqueline Heider, and Nancy Fletcher pray during a meeting with organizers of the Just Give Me Jesus Revival that will come to Augusta in September. The two-day event will be led by Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz.     EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Blanche Conger (from left), Jacqueline Heider, and Nancy Fletcher pray during a meeting with organizers of the Just Give Me Jesus Revival that will come to Augusta in September. The two-day event will be led by Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz.

The carpet under their knees was given in answer to prayer. So was the paint that coats the walls.

“The space itself was donated,” said Blanche Conger, the chairwoman of the Just Give Me Jesus revival team. “It’s a hub of activity.”

It’s also a testament to the ways God is “showing up” as hundreds of local volunteers prepare for Just Give Me Jesus, a free two-day revival led by Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of evangelist Billy Graham.

“There has never been a prayer-less revival,” Conger said. “God has promised a greater revival by corporate prayer.”

And so, above fundraising and community organizing and outreach, the revival team has prioritized prayer in preparation for the revival on Sept. 21-22.

A six-foot-tall map on one wall of the Just Give Me Jesus offices includes dozens of red pins fanning out in a 30-mile radius from James Brown Arena. Each pin marks a prayer cell where someone has committed to praying for revival.

On Tuesday, the team will hold a prayer rally at First Baptist Church of North Augusta.

The Rev. Kris Key of Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church and worship leader Stephanie Seefeldt will guide the audience through a “concert of prayer.”

The 40 days leading up to the revival have been dedicated to continual prayer, with volunteers signing up in shifts to pray around the clock.

The night before the revival, a team will “prayer walk” to James Brown Arena. And Lotz plans to bring her own prayer team to Augusta from her Raleigh-based AnGeL Ministries.

“Prayer, prayer and more prayer. That’s what’s left to do,” Conger said. “We’re entering the final push.”

The team is also still signing up volunteers, coordinating fundraisers and planning for city-wide Bible studies after the revival. Nearly $120,000 has been raised to bring the revival to Augusta and put on the event with no cost to participants. Another $120,000 is still needed.

“For every revival team, it’s the biggest challenge,” Conger said.

The team was initially going to charge for parking, but was concerned the $5 fee would keep some away. “In a day and a half, a couple was led to buy out the parking lot,” Conger said. “So we’re able to offer that now free as well.”

They’re considering overflow locations at other downtown arenas or churches, Conger said.

“We totally expect to overflow that arena,” she said. “We hope people come.”

More than 1,200 volunteers have been trained from more than 250 churches.

“No church is to be left out of this,” said Kathryn Tucker, the vice chairwoman of the revival team.

Beth Fritz, the promotions committee chairwoman, estimated more than 40 different denominations are involved.

“We wanted to engage all of the churches,” Tucker said. “This never would have happened without the pastors’ support. They’ve been involved since the beginning.”

Conger said many of Augusta’s pastors helped bring the revival here. More than 140 people in the community wrote letters in support of a Just Give Me Jesus revival in Augusta.

With their urging, Lotz accepted the invitation. The revival is one of just two she’ll hold this year.

“It’s easy for us on Sunday to divide up into our small little churches instead of seeking intentional relationships with one another,” Conger said. “Unity. That’s my heart. It starts with us.”

PRAYER RALLY

WHAT: Just Give Me Jesus Augusta hosts a public prayer rally and concert

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: First Baptist Church of North Augusta, 625 Georgia Ave., North Augusta

LEARN MORE: Call (706) 922-4800 or see justgivemejesusaugusta.org.

SHORT STACKS FOR BIG CHANGE

WHAT: Pancake breakfast fundraiser in support of Just Give Me Jesus

WHEN: 7:30 to 10 a.m. Aug. 18

WHERE: Fatz Cafe, 464 North Belair Road, Evans

COST: $7, with children age 6 and under eating for free

JUST GIVE ME JESUS REVIVAL

WHAT: Anne Graham Lotz presents a revival in Augusta

WHEN: 7 - 9 p.m. Sept 21 and 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 22

WHERE: James Brown Arena, 601 7th St.

COST: Free; no tickets are required


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