There were three significant spiritual experiences in my life twenty-plus years ago: First was the call to ministry for dads in January, 1996, that would manifest into the founding of Faithful Fathering in 2000; Second was a “Walk to Emmaus” retreat weekend in February, 1997; and then there was Promise Keepers’ “Stand in the Gap”, a sacred assembly of men on the Mall in Washington D.C., October 4th, 1997.
What kind of impact could over a million men have by kneeling in prayer, standing to worship and sitting to listen to the Godly messages offered by the speakers? I can only speak for this man - I was inspired, encouraged and challenged to be the man, husband and father God expects me to be. Every decision, every choice I would make from that day forward came under a new level of scrutiny, scrutiny grounded in scripture. Choices were to glorify God, strengthen our marriage and affirm relationships in family. Men were called to “Stand in the Gap” by committing to make, and be accountable for better choices.
I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. – Ezekiel 22:30 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. – 2 Chronicles 7:14-15. These were the passages that motivated Bill McCartney, Randy Phillips and all the Promise Keepers’ team to take a step beyond filling stadiums. The God-sized vision was to fill the Mall in Washington D.C. with men praying for marriages and families across our nation; praying for our leaders at the local, state and national levels; praying for the unity exhibited on the Mall that day across all denominational, racial and socio-economic lines; praying for our military, law enforcement and fire fighters; and praying for boldness as men of God to stand firm against the devil’s schemes that work to take our eyes off Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. It was a time of revival and spiritual awakening for this nation.
After a powerful day, I caught a 6:00a.m. flight the next morning to return to Houston. I was not surprised to see the plane full of men that had been on the Mall. I was surprised by what the stewardess announced to the plane load of Promise Keepers as we taxied down the runway. She said, “Men, I just want you to know that we women love you and love what you are doing. Please keep doing it!” Then she asked, “Would you sing, ‘As for Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord’ for us?” We were singing full out as the plane took off! The pilot said a prayer over breakfast and we kept singing all the way home. I thought that plane might just keep going up because it certainly felt like Heaven.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for the work You have done through Promise Keepers and many other Christian organizations. Thank You for the leaders that have had a vision well beyond self, God-sized visions You burdened them with. Lift up a new generation of leaders that pray for revival and spiritual awakening across our nation. Call all dads to boldly stand in the gap, to stand firm against the devil’s schemes at work against the family. Strengthen me to be the man, husband, father and ministry leader You expect me to be. Amen.
A faithful father keeps promises and focuses on being faithful to the call.