August 25, Day 54 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
Stopping is hard to do, especially when our goal is to bicycle across the country and finish in a timely manner. But sometimes you just have to stop, look, and listen. And that is exactly what we have done during our extended stay in Sioux City, Iowa. We have also caught up on our sleep and our bodies are thanking us for that!
Our Friday night “date night” was looking better than ever. We rented a car and headed north to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We sped by some of the route we took on our bicycles last Sunday. What would have taken us all day on our bikes was reduced to about 70 minutes in a car. Amazing!
As we walked into Central Baptist Church where the dinner and Prayer for a Generation event would be held, excitement and anticipation bubbled up within. We would actually be attending an event we thought was out of our reach just a few weeks ago. Sporting our matching HopeLine shirts, Tim and I were greeted and instantly recognized by some who had seen us on the Sioux City local news and newspaper Friday morning.
At the dinner, longtime supporters were recognized for their commitment to TheHopeLine. Stories were told that spanned Dawson McAllister’s 40-plus years of helping youth in crisis. Seated at our table was a man who knew Dawson back when he was just starting out in youth ministry in 1967. We met other hope coaches and listened to their stories of gratitude for serving in the ministry. The dinner was delightful, but underneath was a tone of deep concern for this nation’s youth. One statement that startled me was that we are one generation from losing the church.
The statistics for this generation are alarming. Check them out on this press release for the Prayer for a Generation event.
After dinner, we joined about 400 people of all ages already gathered in the large auditorium for the main portion of the program, to pray and worship. It was powerful. The praise band led us in worship. CEO Tim Altman, pictured to the right, and founder of TheHopeLine, Dawson McAllister, spoke.
I loved the interaction between Dawson and the audience. He asked people to share their stories of those who had prayed for them over the years. Several young people shared how aunts and uncles prayed for them. A grandmother, a parent, and a spouse all were important prayer warriors for other people who spoke. Many had abandoned their faith in God for a time. Some were addicted. Two girls explained that they had been raped. I was amazed at their transparency, but not at their gratitude. What a privilege to hear that their prayers were answered: marriages mended, addictions eradicated, broken hearts healed, lives restored. Only God could do all that.
After that, we were led in prayer by several leaders in the Sioux Falls faith community. A hope coach prayed for the young people who already know and follow God. A University of Sioux Falls educator and a campus minister prayed for the teachers, principals and administrators who would be starting school this coming week. Another leader prayed for the hurting and hopeless young people who need help. Yet another prayed for youth pastors and ministers. Finally, and most importantly, a humble prayer warrior prayed that God’s extravagant love will ignite a mass movement of faith in Jesus across the nation.
We ended the evening by gathering in small groups and praying for this generation. I love it when we are given practical ways to help after a meeting like this. They had a list of youth ministries that service Sioux Falls and beyond, many of which had booths in the lobby after the event. Imagine if we started praying for, helping, and loving the youth in America on a daily basis. Imagine helping to save the lives of troubled youth so they could know God, follow Him, and make a difference with their peers!
The effect of one night of prayer will pale in comparison to what daily prayers will do for this generation. Most experts agree that all revivals and spiritual awakenings begin with prayer. God makes a promise in the Bible, in 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Will you join us in praying for this generation?