In the spring of 2007, something special happened in Tucson, AZ. It started in 2006, when a young man named Robert Park came on the scene. There had never been anyone like him before, and there hasn’t been anyone like him since. He was a believer in the power of prayer. And he didn’t just talk about prayer, he prayed.. sometimes for hours. Many reported answers to prayer after praying with Robert; healings, even once of AIDS; open doors for the gospel and more.
He was also very humble and giving. He would give away anything he had, if someone needed it. He led the charge to minister to the people who were living in the trash dumps of Nogales, Mexico. He would reach out and befriend anyone, especially the marginalized. He once brought a man home who had been released from the hospital with nowhere to go, with a head full of staples holding his scalp in place.
Robert got a hold of the Transformation videos and the teachings of Jackson Senyonga, a pastor from Uganda featured on the videos. After praying, Robert was convinced that this is what we needed in Tucson, a move of God, starting with prayer. So, by faith, Robert contacted Pastor Senyonga, and invited him to Tucson. Many thought Robert was crazy, but Jackson said he sought God about it, and agreed to come to Tucson, in May of 2007.
At the same time that spring, God was stirring up our city to pray. The students at the University of Arizona had organized a 40 day, 24 hour/day prayer tent on the UA mall, with many ministries participating. The National Day of Prayer team was in full swing as well. Another team had a two hour slot at a free speech booth, turn into a free booth for the whole weekend at the 4th Ave street fair, to promote praying for Tucson! God was doing something special.
Pastor Senyonga’s visit included nightly meetings at different churches to share his personal testimony of being part of a changed country, after laboring in desperate prayer with others. The week ended with the Global Day of Prayer, on Pentecost Sunday, where believers in Tucson gathered to pray alongside millions worldwide. In Tucson, about 3000 gathered to pray and seek God at the Kennedy Park Bandshell. As Robert’s pastor, John Benson said, “God has imparted something special to Tucson.”
One of Robert’s favorite verses to pray was Amos 5:24: “But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Well, that summer, just two months after the Global Day of Prayer, Tucson had a powerful rainy monsoon season. One storm over Mt Lemmon was called a 1000 year storm. It washed out half of the Mt Lemmon highway at mile post 10 and completely cut through the Sabino Canyon tram road! The Transformation videos talked about prayer even leading to a change in the physical sense, according to 2 Chronicles 7:14, a healing of the land.
Once again we are experiencing drought in the desert southwest. Yes, a physical one, after the warmest winter on record; but mostly, a drought for the presence of God.
Lord, stir up your people to humble themselves and pray once again. Rain on us again, with your righteousness and mercy, in Jesus’ name, Amen!