There is a small borough 30 miles west of dead-center Pennsylvania. It is called Philipsburg and it was settled in 1797 and encorporated as an borough in 1864. South Carolina and the rest of the confederecy had seceeded from these United States. Abraham Lincoln was ending his first term and working for his reelection as President after three years of brutal war. By 1950, it reached the zenith of their population with about 4,000 residents and has been steadily climbing down since. Today, it’s population sits at 2,600. If you look on wikipedia you will see that the list of “famous” people from Philipsburg includes Matt Adams, a professional baseball player and Jon Condo, a professional football player. There is also a sportscaster mentioned and, a preacher. More about him later.
What you won’t find are the names of the prayer-warriors who changed a city, hundreds of miles away. There is no listing of the people who spent hours praying for some young men they had never met and would never meet. There is no plaque on the wall, no picture of them on their knees, no award ceremony for the faithfulness, no story of the nights they woke up with a thought, “pray now” in their hearts. But make no mistake, without those nameless saints, all of them mostly buried and awaiting the resurrection of the dead, MGM would not have made a movie of the fruit of their labor. Fifty years ago, they sent their pastor, on the wings of their prayers to New York City, and God changed that city and the lives of thousands of gang member forever, not just in the here and now, but for all eternity.
This month, we remember the release of The Cross and the Switchblade, fifty years ago. And we praise God for those now silent warriors in prayer who trusted God’s word and prayed for young men and women who needed Jesus and someone to care for them. They were the foundation of the most successful addiction recovery program EVER devised (TEEN CHALLENGE – over a thousand centers in 80 countries). And it was they who launched the ministry of David Wilkerson.
What might your church accomplish if you gave yourself, really gave yourself to the ministry of prayer?
And here are a couple of links about Dr. Wilkerson