New Yorkers are still processing the brutality of the recent terrorist attack in their city.
On Tuesday, October 31, a rented pickup truck driven by a terrorist who claimed ties to ISIS, plowed through and killed eight people on a bike path in New York City. The deadly charge was only halted when the truck collided with a bus at a traffic intersection. 13 others were injured.
On Thursday night people gathered near the now solemn spot, grieving. A memorial had begun forming, with flowers, notes and hushed conversations.
Suddenly a sound cut through the scene, and it wasn’t the incessant din of honking horns on the adjacent Manhattan street. It was a pastor, circled up with more than a dozen others, crying out to Jesus on behalf of their city.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains that were speaking with and comforting mourners made their way over and joined in, followed by others. The circle continued to grow. Many passersby stopped to somberly take in the holy moment.
“We wanted to come here to the site to pray peace over this land. To pray for Jesus’ presence to be here. For people to come to know Him and confess faith over here,” said Pastor Dimas Salaberrios of Infinity Bible Church, after the prayer.
“We don’t want this air to be saturated by fear. We want this place to be saturated by God,” he said.
Pastor Dimas, it turns out, is no stranger to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He was heavily involved in Billy Graham’s last Crusade in New York in 2005, serving as the co-chair of the youth committee and also on the finance committee.
“We felt it would be important to come here and to call on the blood of Jesus to be here and to acknowledge Him as Savior and as King. We desperately need His help,” said Pastor Dimas. He pointed out that New York City is under a constant threat of attacks, and that he’s seen a direct correlation between prayer movements in the city and thwarted terror plots.
Jeff Naber was one of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains who joined the prayer circle, and felt it was clear that God was moving in their midst.
“We saw a couple local churches come out and we had a prayer circle—just crying out to God to heal this land; crying out to God that we’re claiming this dirt, this property here, in the Name of Christ,” said Jeff.
“And for Him to bring the people here. For Him to bring the people out of darkness, and for Him to use us in doing that.”
As the prayer circle ended, an impromptu chorus sprung up from the assembled remnant of believers. Standing shoulder to shoulder, the tight-knit group sang out “How Great Is Our God,” repeating the chorus several times and flooding the evening air with melodic worship.
A patch of land that had been the site of abject terror and bloodshed 48 hours earlier was now claimed as holy ground.
It’s Pastor Dimas’ prayer that it would remain that way.
“I hope that this could help awaken even the church in New York City, that we would show up. Here we have a great moment to evangelize New York. I hope that we don’t miss this moment to share Christ’s love.”
Are you searching for peace? Start here.