|any times I feel like Moses leading the children of Israel Out of Egyptian bondage. To stand still and see the salvation of our Lord—it’s an awesome view. I’ve witnessed this!
Many of our church members may never know the numerous ways God blessed attendees of the first North American Division “Just Claim It” Youth Prayer Conference held February 28–March 4, 2007, in Dallas, Texas. The objective of this prayer conference—and the second congress scheduled for April 7-11, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio—is to meet the spiritual needs of Adventist youth and help lead them into a closer relationship with Jesus.
One of the “Just Claim It” outreach ministries during the 2007 event was called “Street Preaching.” Many of the youth, such as 15-year-old Sarah from California, preached on the streets for the first time.
“I had an awesome time,” Sarah told the other attendees. “I preached my first five-minute sermon by the bus stop next to the Dallas Public Library. I was nervous at first, but God calmed my spirit, and I just started speaking and kept speaking.”
Tears filled Sarah’s eyes as she continued: “What touched my heart the most was that the people actually listened to me!”
Sarah has since preached several times for Sabbath worship in her local church.
Sarah, however, was not the only one who said they’d been blessed by the experience. One small group of youth shared their faith on the city’s metro rail and brought several visitors to the evening meetings of the prayer conference. Others—as a result of the Street Preaching event—have since accepted a call to ministry and are now studying theology. One such young adult, Carlos from Puerto Rico, within the past two years has conducted several evangelistic meetings and baptized more than 100 people.
What these young people needed to gain confidence to reach out to their communities were basic tools and encouragement—and not only in public speaking. Event leaders explained to the youth that simply stepping out of their comfort zone could be a blessing and a way to use their talents for the Lord.
During one of the general sessions we were looking for someone willing to offer the prayer. The closest person available was Auriel from New Jersey. In spite of her fear, Auriel stepped up and delivered a very moving supplication. Her prayer was so powerful that eventually it reached around the world as a feature of our follow-up promotional video. Every time I listen to her prayer and hear her connect with God, it brings tears to my eyes. The prayer was not planned, at least not by her. Auriel told me later that she tuned everything else out and just thought about those who needed to hear from God.
“Just Claim It” inspired not only the youth but the leaders as well. Roger Johnson, a pastor from Fort Worth, Texas, who has been preaching the gospel message for more than 30 years, responded to the prayer call during one of the meetings. It involved kneeling at one of several crosses set up in the aisle and “leaving something”—perhaps a particular burden—at that cross. Pastor Johnson has since told me that his prayer life has never been the same.
We appeal to church members to challenge the youth to call on Jesus, for He says: “If my [youth], who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray . . . , then will I hear from heaven and . . . heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14). So, “stand still” and see God at work in the lives of committed youth who are determined to do His will.
James L. Black, Sr., is director of Youth, Pathfinder, Adventurer, and Camp Ministries for the North American Division. This article was published April 8, 2010.