We were successful in pulling together resources and set a date for the prayer meeting to occur on Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday. Memphis, Tennessee, is the place where King was assassinated in 1968. Although it has been more than 40 years since his death, in a lot of ways Memphis is still struggling in some of the same areas that made Dr. King come here, such as poverty, racial reconciliation, and inequality. At times, racial reconciliation is really difficult here. It is even more difficult in the Christian community; Sunday is the most segregated day on earth but even more so in our city.
The premise of everything we did was centered on Joel 2:17. We believe it is God’s pastors and leaders who have the responsibility of leading us back to God. In the dates leading up to this sacred time, everyone involved fasted for 21 days because we expected God to do something mighty in his people, our city, our churches, families, and us.
The call to prayer drew pastors and parachurch ministry leaders from at least seven different denominations. Their ages ranged from 20’s to 60’s. It was incredible to see barriers broken because of the denominations represented. Both genders were represented equally, and the diversity was incredible for one purpose: to protect the pastors. We needed to build a hedge around all the men and women called to the pastorate and their families and make sure that the enemy could not assault them on our watch. We wanted to make sure no pastor in our city felt alone, and we wanted to provide a safe place.
On that night, we gave Satan a black eye and we put him on crutches. The presence and power of God was so real in that place. Pastors were praying for each other, holding hands, and weeping. I believe heaven was smiling on our city.
Our next proactive assignment was to create a forum where pastors could get clinical and practical knowledge about recognizing suicide and depression. We hosted a symposium for pastors, staff pastors, pastors’ spouses, and seminary students to provide this invaluable information. We had a Canadian pastor who got wind of our ministry and traveled to the United States to be a part of the symposium. He actually led the session on pastors’ marriages. We hosted the symposium at The Stephen Olford Center at Union University, where pastors and ministers from all over the world come to be trained. The center was filled to capacity with leaders thirsting for knowledge.