We were wrapping up Vacation Bible School with family night. That year, 1981, our pastor Jim Cymbala had invited the parents to come on Sunday night. Nicky Cruz, a former gang leader, was sharing his testimony, and we took the children, about 200 of them, next door to the Upper Room. As we watched a Christian movie, I felt in my spirit that the Lord wanted the children to pray. I didn't know that the next 30 minutes would change our work dramatically, from ministry for children, to ministry by children.
Pastor Cymbala had called the Brooklyn Tabernacle to be a praying church when he became pastor ten years earlier. "Nothing happens without prayer," he told us often. So we prayed, faithfully, fervently, every Tuesday night, and what has happened because of God's answers to prayer is astonishing. But our children's ministry was still mostly one of Bible stories and songs and games. Until that VBS.
I asked the children whether any of them wanted to come and pray in another room. A dozen said ...1