Promise Seekers/Standing In The Gap Event
I remember sitting in a huge circus like tent at Jesus 76, an outdoor Jesus Rally in Lancaster Country in 1976. Ern Baxter had announced that if there were any young men who “aspired some day to become an elder” they were welcome to come to this tent for what had previously been advertized as a pastors, youth pastors, leadership seminar during the noon hour. He was speechless when he found the tent not only filled but six deep around the outside perimeters of those who accepted his challenge.
Sitting there, I asked the Lord to reveal to me what was happening. The still small voice assured me that these men sitting here would be men of God, raising up godly families, being a fulfillment to their godly wives, and would be the back bone of many a local church for their generation.
Twenty years later another evangelistic movement, The Promise Keepers, would target men. Founded by a college football coach, Promise Keepers would pack out football stadiums and arenas throughout the United States and other Countries, as all speakers, music etc. became an evangelistic endeavor to lead men into the saving grace of Jesus Christ and impact their lives and the lives of their families.
One of the most impressive events that I have ever attended was the Standing In The Gap event, sponsored by the Promise Keepers in Washington, D.C. on a Saturday. Parking far out of the city limits, my two sons and I took the subway in to the Mall Area of the Capital. Even though it was still early morning, I could only find a small patch of dirt for my one son and myself to sit upon near the old Smithsonian building while my other son and a friend tried to get closer to the front stage. By noon there was not an inch of exposed dirt left for one to sit upon in the Mall, as the wall of male humanity reigned clear to the Washington Monument.
I will never forget when every man knelt, face down in the grass, backsides raised, while in pure silence for quite a period of time of prayer. With hundreds of thousands of men present, you could still hear the pigeons fly, sirens in the distance, cars driving by the perimeter of the event. A Holy Hush prevailed as the united effort of hundreds of thousands of men prayed for their families, churches, and country. Words cannot really express that moment.
Not everyone gets the opportunity to see the seeds of hope become fulfillment in the magnitude I witnessed. Men jammed in and beyond a circus tent wanting to live godly lives, nurture godly marriages, and raise godly families had a generation later, approx. 20 years, the opportunity to bring their sons to see hundreds of thousands of men fill every inch of ground at the nations Mall to again pray for their lives, their marriage, and their families to be or remain godly.
I must admit that Standing In The Gap will probably be the most impressive mass evangelistic meeting that I will ever be a part of in my life time. Thank you Promise Keepers for having the vision to reach out to thousands of men, filling football stadiums for men cheering something than their idol, sports. Hearing a stadium roar for Jesus is incredible.