NEW YORK – You can see most anything at Times Square in Manhattan.
But 60,000 people praying? That’s an unusual sight in the heart of Broadway.
Yet, that’s just what happened there yesterday for one hour – from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in a Christian rally called Prayer in the Square.
Event organizers from Times Square Church had expected some 15,000. But their expectations were far exceeded at the third event of its kind in the last three years.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who helped the church cut through the red tape necessary to hold such an event, addressed the crowd.
“It’s a little strange for me to be up here,” he said. “I’m a Jew. But I just celebrated Rosh Hashanah, our new year. So I guess it’s appropriate for me to wish you all a happy new year.”
Despite the magnitude of the event, no major media covered it – even in the center of the media world on a slow news day.
More than 200 churches joined with the Times Square Church in promoting the rally to pray for the city and the nation.
A 180-voice choir sang worship songs and the entire event was simulcast on the News Astrovision screen at One Times Square and on several radio stations.
Carter Conlon, pastor of the Times Square Church, said preceding the event that this Prayer in the Square might be the last.
“The Lord called us to host, fund and organize this event for the last three years,” he said. “He told us that the first year would establish credibility with the city, and we have received positive feedback from various city agencies, including the office of the Mayor himself, commending us for honesty, order, and keeping our word. The second year confirmed to local churches that this was not the beginning of some new ministry but rather a gathering for the sole purpose of one hour of prayer, in humility, with all denominations represented and no personalities or ministry showcased. Those who have attended can attest to the fact that this has been so. Everything has unfolded exactly as the Lord impressed upon our hearts it would.”