Prayer is powerful and one step of faith can change everything. Take your step . . . now!
April 18, 2007
Just one step of faith, that's all it took. Just one step of faith.
Yesterday my cell phone rang in the middle of the day. It was my daughter Laura. Nothing unusual about that.
What was unusual about the call was that my normally upbeat, positive daughter (a senior, just a month away from graduating from college) was down, and in a "funk."
All because of the Virginia Tech massacre on Monday morning.
She wanted to do something.
As we talked, I read Laura a portion of the words from President Bush's address at the special service held at Virginia Tech on the day after the shootings. In his message the President quoted Romans 12:21:
"These sources of strength are also in the faith that sustains so many of us. Across the town of Blacksburg and in towns all across America, houses of worship from every faith have opened their doors and have lifted you up in prayer. People who have never met you are praying for you; they're praying for your friends who have fallen and who are injured. There's a power in these prayers, real power. In times like this, we can find comfort in the grace and guidance of a loving God. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'"
In our conversation I encouraged Laura to turn her grief heavenward and pray for those who have been impacted by evil.
Then I re-read Romans 12:21 to her: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Laura replied, "But I'm just a college student, what could I do? I live off campus. I'm not in a dorm or sorority house on campus. What can I do?"
Reflecting on Laura's response, I think that most of us feel that way … I'm just a dad … or a mom … what can I do? The enemy of our souls loves it when we think this way. Doubt gives way to unbelief and ultimately results in paralysis. I'm reminded of British statesman Edmund Burke's warning, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
But a follower of Jesus Christ is more than "just" a college student, a dad, a mom. God made us to be children of the King who are empowered by Him to push back against the forces of evil that seek to destroy us and take away our hope.
The Scripture gives us resolute purpose: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
I then challenged Laura to take the lead with a few student leaders on campus to join with her and organize a campus-wide prayer meeting Thursday for the Virginia Tech students, faculty and families.
There was silence on the phone.
After a few moments, my adventuresome, "go for it" daughter, Laura, declared, "I got it! I'm on it! I'll do it!"
I had a few more words of encouragement and we said goodbye. I concluded by asking her to keep me posted on what was going on.
Ten minutes later I was in a meeting and my cell phone rang. It was Laura. She had contacted her friend Ben, a fired-up Christ follower, as well as student leaders of various campus ministries. They all were "on it!" The campus-wide prayer meeting was scheduled at an outdoor amphitheater on campus for Thursday at 7 p.m. I told her how excited I was for her and the other students.
I jumped back in to my meeting and another ten minutes later the phone rang again. This time Laura told me that she had just sent the following e-mail to 12 student leaders on campuses across the country who are participating in an internship with her at The Falls Church in Falls Church, Va., beginning this fall:
All across the country students are feeling sad about the loss of life at Virginia Tech, and also thinking that it could have been me. I know I have thought that a couple of times while on campus today. I know that all of us have been and are praying for the students and families of Virginia Tech. I have called several of my friends and we are getting together on Thursday night at 7:00 to have a time of prayer for the students, families, faculty, and everyone that has been affected because of this tragedy. I just wanted to throw this out there to see if you all would get together with your friends and fellow students, on your campus and pray together on Thursday. Our God is powerful and He can and will turn this evil into good!
I responded with a "Wow" and told Laura, "You go, girl!"
In the midst of all this, I thought of my friend and comrade, Mark Gauthier, the national director of the Campus Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. So I wrote him and shared with him what Laura and students were doing on her campus.
Mark was pumped! So pumped that last night he sent an e-mail out to four thousand full time staff and student leaders on more than a thousand campuses here in the U.S. and even more in over 100 countries of the world.
By 8 a.m. today, Mark's inbox had over 200 responses from campus leaders all over the world, saying they will be calling for a campus-wide Call to Prayer for Virginia Tech. In fact, I was just told that the e-mails are streaming in so fast they can't keep up. Spiritually and virally, this thing has taken off with responses from London, East Asia, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and even North Africa (where three Virginia Tech grads lead the ministry). Many more will join.
Another group of college students who use Facebook online have responded by establishing a Facebook group to pray for Virginia Tech. Somehow mother's groups and churches have received the e-mail and they are calling for prayer. And another e-mail was sent to the leaders of other national campus ministry groups (Navigators, Intervarsity, Impact, etc.) inviting them to lead and call their students to prayer tomorrow. Bill Pugh, national director of Athletes in Action, has written his leaders on several hundred campuses and many of those will be rallying students on their campus to pray.
I started forwarding e-mails to Laura this morning from all over the world and I just got off the phone with her. I told her how proud I was of her for taking one step of faith and saying "I'll do it!" I told her that her step of faith helped create something much bigger than anything we would have imagined. All she could say was "Wow! God is indeed powerful."
As I write this, I am about to go into the studio to tell the story on our broadcast tomorrow and challenge several hundred thousand moms and dad, husbands and wives, and singles to join with us. I also decided to send this letter out to you, along with more than 165,000 stakeholders in FamilyLife all around the world, encouraging you and your family to join in the Call to Prayer. And take a step of faith and challenge at least one other person to do the same:
- Pray for the families and friends of students who were killed—that they would turn to God for His comfort and strength. Four of the students were involved with Campus Crusade at Virginia Tech.
- Pray for the survivors of the shootings who witnessed the horrors of that day. Pray for God's grace and comfort.
- Pray for wisdom for the Campus Crusade staff and other campus ministers and pastors as they seek to counsel and love the hurting students.
Find information about the tragedy and updates on how you can pray at Campus Crusade for Christ’s website dedicated to the tragedy at Virginia Tech. If you have any children in college, call and challenge them to organize a Call to Prayer for Virginia Tech tomorrow. Send them this e-mail. They'll know how to get more information on Facebook.
And if you are unable to get a group together to pray, just pray where you are. Prayer is portable—you can join the movement tomorrow at lunch or at the dinner table with your family. But pray.
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."