Event brings men to tears. Humbles speaker.

Below is a moving newsletter article by Oregonian Rick Johnson who runs  Better Dads ministries.  He was invited to speak at a men’s conference in Canada and came away changed himself.

By Rick Johnson, Oregon

Better Dads.net Ministries

The Promise Keepers Game Day 2009 in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada was perhaps the most powerful and impactful men’s event I have ever participated in. Like in Regina, SK several weeks ago, about 625 men and boys attended this amazing event—many driving from hours and hours away. The community was so excited that PK was in town they had 50 volunteers show up! Paul Downer (son of Phil Downer) spoke first Friday evening with a powerful talk about his broken relationship with his father and how they had healed. I then again gave the closing session on the main stage Friday night with the topic of “healing our father wounds.”
Much like in Regina, many, many men came down in tears to the front for the alter call to be prayed over for healing and forgiveness. I witnessed other men in their seats all over the sanctuary praying over the men next to them in tears of pain and relief. I observed elderly men come down to have life long wounds healed.

I saw men praying with and then hugging for the longest time young men whose father’s had abandoned them, both in tears. Many tears were shed that night (including mine). Know that when men open up and allow their vulnerable insides to be exposed like this it is not an insignificant event.

Again the prayer team played a huge role in the conference. I went downstairs Friday evening into the bowels of the building for about 30 minutes where the prayer team was stationed for the entire weekend. The presence of the Holy Spirit was so abundant that the hairs on my arms were standing on end. I don’t think I have ever heard so many people (20-30 prayer intercessors) pray so powerfully.

The next morning I was blessed to be approached at the hotel restaurant and asked to have breakfast with a grandfather, father, and two teenage sons who were attending the conference together—three generations of men growing together. While the workshops given by me and the other speakers were very impactful (I had many men tell me how much mine had helped them), the final session of the conference was an incredible time of men’s hearts breaking. Rick Verkerk of Promise Keepers closed with an unbelievably powerful account of living with a sin in his life for 12 years that every man in the building could strongly relate to. During the closing alter call many men rushed down front and fell to their knees to be prayed for and receive forgiveness. It shook all of us deeply. I personally have never heard men sob so loud and hard. As the band began to pound out a powerful song of praise, men continued to stay on their knees with faces to the ground while those in their seats sang at the top of their lungs, rocking the building’s foundation.
On and on the band played while men prayed, danced, and sang with abandon. The speakers joined Rick V. on stage to lead the men in wild worship. I was holding myself together pretty well until I looked over on stage and saw tears streaming down the drummer’s face as he pounded out the beat—then I had to find the Kleenex box. The evening ended on a boisterous note with men cheering and clapping for the longest time, reluctant to leave and lingering long into the night to bask in the presence of the Holy Spirit even after the music ended.

So many men approached me during the weekend that it is again difficult to remember any specific conversations. Some that stand out was the man that was a recovering homosexual who was touched deeply by my session on father wounds. One of the prayer intercessors somewhat timidly approached me with a message of prophesy for me from God (He said, “Who am I to tell a speaker what God says?” Frankly I was stunned that he would be that hesitant and seemingly give more importance to my supposed “status” than to the word of God and encouraged him accordingly). He said that God had told him many things (that I will not repeat here) but that were very encouraging to me and the Better Dads ministry.

Interestingly, they were very similar to things that have been prophesized to me several times in the past by others. Another man approached me to pray with him so that he could reconcile and share his faith with his father who he has not spoken to in over nine years. As he called his wife to share that news on Friday night she exclaimed tearfully, “Finally–thank God!” He was originally only going to attend Saturday’s sessions because he was unemployed and didn’t have money for a hotel. But as he read about Friday’s topic of healing the father wound he knew he had to come and God made it happen.

I will remember this event for as long as I live, using it as a standard to compare other conferences I speak at. Many kudos to the local men who helped set this event up—they did an awesome job. I only regret that I am woefully inadequate to accurately describe the amazing miracles that happened this weekend. However, one final blessing was given me as I flew home today. As I was preparing to board the plane in Calgary to come home I found myself with a bad attitude (coming down from the “high” of an event like this is hard, plus going through customs and waiting around the hot airport didn’t help).

I prayed to God to help me get a good attitude so that I wouldn’t negatively influence someone. I asked God to put me in someone’s path that would help me and that I could help. Now understand that in all the years I have been traveling and speaking I have never run into anyone I knew, much less been assigned to sit next to them. As I boarded the plane the man who sat down next to me was Paul Young, author of The Shack. Paul and I know each other but have not crossed paths for a couple of years. Paul was returning from being on the road since Sept. 13th. We had a great time catching up and encouraging each other. What are the odds that Paul and I would have the same flight, same plane, seats next to each other in Canada on the same day? What a great gift and answer to prayer. What a mighty God we serve! Thank you all for your prayers,

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