“What’s the end game?”
That’s the question a small group of men found themselves asking four years ago.
The Williamson Road Bible Study had been meeting for a decade. It was made up of men from various churches and denominations, but they all had at least two things in common: they loved Jesus and central Mississippi.
“The Bible study was such a joyful thing,” said Ralph Abraham, “but we wanted to know, was God there just for our own pleasure, or was there something else? There had to be something more.”
So, in 2010 their prayer focus began to shift. Their vision grew far beyond themselves.
“The praying went to, ‘Give us something to do for the Kingdom of Heaven,’” Ralph said.
Soon, prayers turned into letters, written by the group and distributed to 60 local churches, calling for a spiritual revival in central Mississippi. After more than a year of praying and writing, the growing community of like-minded believers made contact with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Fast-forward four years. On Friday night, Ralph and the rest of the Williamson Road Bible Study looked out at the packed A.E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College and knew God had answered their prayers.
They were missing one member of the group, Bill Earnest, who beat them to heaven when he passed away five months ago. But they rejoiced that his dream had come true.
More than 2,000 people heard the Gospel Friday night at the Will Graham Central Mississippi Celebration in Clinton, Miss. Musician and songwriter Paul Baloche led the crowd in worship, the Rhett Walker Band rocked the Coliseum and Will Graham preached the Gospel message.
Focusing on Matthew 27:11-26, Will explained that the Roman governor, Pilate, had to decide what to do with Jesus.
“For some of you,” Will said, “you’ve never made a decision. You’re like Pilate. You’re trying to stay neutral. What, now, are you going to do with Jesus?”
Just like his grandfather, Billy Graham, has done for more than 60 years, Will invited the crowd to make a decision for Christ.
As people made their way down front, dozens of counselors waited in the wings. One of them, a 23-year-old woman named Ella Campbell, nervously looked around. She had never done anything quite like this but had been praying for Jesus to penetrate the darkness in her Yazoo City, Miss., community.
“I was so nervous,” Ella said, “but when I saw this girl, God led me straight to her.”
A young woman had come forward to accept Christ, and Ella felt instantly drawn to her.
“We said a prayer together, and we talked about some things going on in her life,” Ella said.
It turned out they had quite a bit in common.
After they exchanged contact information and parted ways, Ella explained that she had challenged her new friend to do a short Bible study and call her so they could talk about it.
She was positively glowing.
“That was awesome. God just brought us together,” Ella said. “Just to think that a small group of people prayed and it led to all of this—it’s amazing. I can’t wait to do this the next three services!”
As new believers spoke and prayed with counselors all around the room, Ralph and his Williamson Road buddies gave all the glory to God.
Friday night, the Lord turned their Kingdom-focused prayers into reality. And it looks like He’s just getting started.
The Central Mississippi Celebration continues Sat., March 29 and Sun., March 30 in Clinton. Events are free and open to the public. Click here for more information.