Last night was our monthly prayer walk. The first Saturday evening of each month we gather walk with candles, pray and talk with people on the streets. Many people have been so very busy with preparations for our Vacation Bible School which starts tomorrow, etc. that this was one of the smallest gatherings we've had. It was Brother & Sister Warren, their two boys, and myself last night.
This night began our 6th year of prayer walks. August of 2003 was our first evening of men's prayer. Our beginning evening, a group of us prayed all night and as dawn broke there were maybe maybe 6 or 8 of us who headed down to Main Street and walked from the Post Office to the North Main Street bridge. I cannot remember whether the 10 Commandments monument had been moved from in front of the courthouse to its present North Main Street location by this time or not. But in any case, we walked and prayed this early morning for the city of Elkhart It was a wonderful night.
We have seen many wonderful happenings in the past 5 years. I did a search of my email account, my groups and my blog and I've never (that I can find) written a full account of James Hill.
I'm pretty sure that this happened our prayer walk of March 2004. At this point it was still only men walking in association with our 'all night' (usually until 3-4 a.m.) men's prayer. We were walking, the route as we first started, we would park in the post office parking lot and walk north to the main street bridge. The 10 commandments monument was at this location by this time and then walk back to the our cars at the post office. Often we would stop in a little Christian coffee house run by the Methodist church and warm up with some coffee and have fellowship.
This night on the way back from the 10 commandments monument a number of fellows began singing as they walked. This was not a typical thing for us to do. In fact I cannot remember singing and walking on any other occasion, but there were maybe 10-15 of us walking and praying this night and a number of men began singing the hymn "Blessed Assurance" just before we passed the North Main Street Liquor Store. As we were walking in front of the liquor store entrance a black man, about my age fiftyish, walked out the door and began dancing in the street and praising God. None of us had any idea what was going on. The man's name was James Hill. He accompanied us back to the church, where we usually had a meal of soup and bread after the prayer walk.
As I said this was March. From that night James was at church most every time the church doors were open. He was baptized and I believe filled with God's Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues later that spring. James dearly loved the Lord. He would testify to anyone any where any time!!!! He was often with us on subsequent prayer walks, but James was an ill man. He had spent his life drinking heavily and had some serious physical problems as a result. None of us knew just how serious James physical ailments were.
When James did miss church, it was sometimes due to his being in the hospital. In June of 2004 James was hospitalized. He never told anyone just how serious his condition was. To our shock, James died on Sunday June 27th, 2004 at Elkhart General Hospital. Here is a link to his obituary. I don't know you may have to be registered with the Elkhart Truth to view it.
Anyway, Pastor Johnson conducted the funeral service, and as Paul Harvey would say, then we found out "the rest of the story." That night in March, on our prayer walk, James had been in line at the liquor store waiting to checkout with his usual two bottles of liquor. He heard a voice in his head, tell him not to buy the liquor, but instead to buy instead two bags of potato chips. James recognized the voice as that of the Lord. He replied that he had tried to quit drinking in the past and had been unable. The voice again said for him to buy potato chips and not the liquor. James replied that he would need help to quit. He would need a sign that the Lord was with him. James obeyed the voice of the Lord and bought the potato chips. When James walked out of the liquor store, he walked into the midst of men praying and singing on the sidewalk. . . men singing. . . men singing as I said before, "Blessed Assurance". . . James Hill's favorite hymn. James knew. . .James knew. . . He had his sign from God. He knew that God would be with him. He didn't know that he was facing the final 3 1/2 months of his life, but from that night forward James lived for and loved the Lord with all his heart. . .
This is maybe one of, if not the most dramatic, but we have seen other equally wonderful moves of the Lord on our prayer walks. And I suspect that we are quite likely not able to see but a small fraction of what the Lord has done in response to our prayers. . .No one but the Lord knows what the next five years will bring. We can be confident though, that He will continue to move in a mighty way.
Thank you Lord. . .
Sunday, August 3, 2008