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Evangelist seeks national prayer day for economy

Bill Keller

Internet evangelist and host of LivePrayer Bill Keller is petitioning President Bush and Congress to designate Dec. 18 as a national day of prayer and fasting for the economy.

Despite several government attempts to revive a slumping national economy, the financial crisis remains – a fact, Keller contends, that illustrates America’s problems aren’t economic but spiritual.

“They have tried everything to fix the economy,” Keller told WND, “including throwing a few trillion at the problem, and we are no better than when the ‘experts’ started to try and fix (it).”

“The crisis is a spiritual problem,” said Keller in a statement. “The answer to our economic downfall is not an infusion of trillions of dollars, but the humble prayers of forgiveness and repentance for our sin and rebellion against God.”

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In a YouTube video LivePrayer released in October, Keller declared, “People are looking for answers from their financial advisors, from their stock brokers, from their elected officials, from the men running for president, from the financial pundits on the TV, from the economists in the financial publications – from every place except where the answer is to be found.”

“The answer isn’t dollars,” Keller said, “it’s turning back to God.”

Now Keller is hoping President Bush will hear his message by calling Americans to pray.

A long historical precedent exists for presidents calling the nation to prayer and fasting. On March 23, 1798, President John Adams issued a proclamation recommending May 9 of that year as a “day of solemn humiliation, fasting and prayer.”

“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God,” Adams wrote. He is proclamation called Americans to “acknowledge before GOD the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation; beseeching him, at the same time, of his infinite Grace, through the Redeemer of the world, freely to remit all our offences, and to incline us, by his holy spirit, to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction.”

President Abraham Lincoln also called for a national day of “humiliation, fasting and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual prayer day, and in 1988, President Reagan declared the first Thursday of every May as the National Day of Prayer.

In his petition to President Bush and Congress, Keller writes, “Our nation is in the midst of an economic crisis that is not going to be solved by the wisdom of men or any amount of money, but only by the grace and mercy of Almighty God.”

The petition continues, “We call upon you as the ones the people of the United States have elected to lead our nation, to follow the example of past Presidents and Congress, and call the people of our land to fast and pray for God’s favor and blessings on our economy.”

Keller’s website invites people to sign the petition and states that he is hoping to hand-deliver at least 250,000 signatures to President Bush, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Dec. 16.

A former businessman convicted of insider trading in 1989, Keller served two years in federal prison, was released and later earned a degree in biblical studies from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

In 1999, Keller launched LivePrayer, which claims to have responded personally to more than 60 million online requests for prayer since its inception and claims its LivePrayer devotional is received daily by over 2.4 million e-mail subscribers.