The Night We Needed a Miracle… Again
“God, please help this to work…”
It didn’t feel like a faith-filled prayer, it felt like what it was: a frantic last-ditch effort prayer – a desperate, “I don’t know what to do if this doesn’t work” prayer muttered under my breath as my tensed fingers moved from the IPad screen to the brightly illuminated “main power” switch of our sound system.
The system had frozen five minutes before the scheduled start of a Fellowship of Christian Athletes “Fields of Faith” event in Rock Falls, Illinois. That had been fifteen minutes ago, and now more than a hundred students were filling the bleachers. The event had been set up as an opportunity to reach curious – often struggling – young people with the message of freedom and forgiveness in Jesus, but we were already late and I was acutely aware of every whispered “are we going to start soon?” from the crowd. I simply had no way to un-mute our microphones and instruments and I was out of options – I really didn’t want to lose this opportunity to reach even one person.
I hit the switch – off and on again, quickly.
The ensuing pop was loud enough to illicit several startled gasps from the crowd, and simultaneously cut the background music, leaving an obvious, uncomfortable silence.
“Sorry guys,” I called it out over my shoulder with the most light-hearted tone I could muster, but I was sweating. Once again, we needed a miracle.
“God please help,” I whispered again as my screen began to refresh with agonizing slowness, “please reach these guys tonight.”
Even as I said the words, my mind was spinning, quickly moving from one potential solution to the next, examining each one, seeing the flaws, and throwing it out – there weren’t a lot of great options that I could see.
And then across the scrolling landscape of options, a thought filtered through – “but God, You WANT to reach these students, and I thought You said that You would…”
And something HAD happened earlier that had deeply impacted me. In the midst of the craziness of set-up and preparation, several dozen volunteers had come together to pray for the event. It had only taken a few minutes, but in that time, students and adult leaders alike had walked through the gymnasium and the bleachers, praying for every young person who would attend – praying for receptive hearts to experience the love, forgiveness, and healing available through Jesus.
And looking out over a room full of people crying out for their friends and classmates, I was suddenly overwhelmed by powerful certainty – I just KNEW that God was going to move.
“Thank You, God, for what You’re going to do tonight – for the lives You’re going to change,” I had whispered, as I raised my phone to snap a picture. THIS was going to be the moment that the battle was won.
And now, nearly an hour later, as I waited with my back to an expectant crowd, it felt as if it was all hanging on whether the technology in front of me was going to work.
The screen flickered, refreshed, and responded, and I immediately stabbed at the screen with my finger: “UN-MUTE,” “UN-MUTE,” “UN-MUTE.” One by one the channels paused, lagged, and became active.
“Quick, check that mic!”
It was active, and we were on.
“Hey,” I nodded at the announcer, and wiped my forehead with the back of my hand, “I think we’re good – let’s do this…”
And we did – we played, the system worked, the crowd responded and we worshipped God with a gymnasium full of public high-school students in the middle of the American Midwest. Several students shared their stories and then my daughter Kailah and I shared the simple, transformational message of Jesus – that all of us were created for relationship with God, that all of us have separated ourselves from God by our sinful actions, and that Jesus loved all of us so much that He paid the price for our forgiveness, healing, and freedom with His life.
And then we offered the chance to respond – to say “yes” to Jesus.
Across the gym, students rose from their seats and walked bravely forward, publicly choosing to commit their lives to Jesus – dozens of lives were changed in the middle of a public high-school in America.
Once again God had done it – He had moved to rescue the people that He loves so desperately.
And this is why we do what we do.
James 5:16 says that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Our only “righteousness” comes through Jesus, but if we’ve accepted His forgiveness, we can be confident in His words – your prayers are POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE whether you know it or not.
We just watched God answer the prayer of a dozen desperate people in a high-school in the middle of the American Midwest, and we’ve watched Him respond to the cries of His beloved children all across the world. God hears prayer, He answers, and He changes things – He loves us deeply and He always keeps His word.
No matter what your struggle today, approach God and know that He hears you. If you’ve accepted the forgiveness of Jesus, you’re his child and your prayers are powerful. If you haven’t, today is a perfect time: admit you’ve sinned, believe in Jesus, commit your life to Him, and receive the forgiveness and freedom that only He can bring. He loves you more than You can possibly imagine.
Since 2012, we’ve shared the love of Jesus in 28 nations and seen tens of thousands of people respond. Since April of 2017, we’ve had the privilege of watching thousands respond to Jesus in twelve nations and territories on five continents – we’ve just finished up a packed few months of events in Israel, the West Bank, France, Belize and across the American South and Midwest. Now we’re heading to Portland to begin recording our next CD project, after which we’re scheduled to share the love of Jesus with the people of Pakistan, and then in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Thailand, and across the USA.
THANK YOU for helping us share the love of Jesus worldwide. Our vision is to follow God’s leading and help reach as many nations and people as we can with the message of Jesus, and your partnership helps us reach the world together. If you’d like to help, click HERE to partner financially and follow us on FACEBOOK for daily prayer updates from the field.
Zach and White Ribbon Day