Popular Christian author Max Lucado took part in a prayer vigil in Texas Wednesday night amid the societal unrest in response to the killing of African American George Floyd.
Lucado, the pastor at Oak Hills Church and bestselling author of several books and devotionals, took to his Facebook page to post videos of a prayer vigil he attended in downtown San Antonio’s Travis Park along with dozens, if not hundreds, of others.
“I really wish you could be here with us worshiping Jesus in San Antonio,” he said at the beginning of one video, adding that the crowd and worship band were “giving glory to God.”
As Travis Park has been the site of demonstrations against police brutality this week, protestors participated in a night of prayer and worship to grieve the loss of 46-year-old Floyd, whose death in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Memorial Day sparked nationwide protests, violence and looting.
The prayer vigil was organized in part by San Antonio’s Community Bible Church — one of San Antonio’s largest congregations — along with other churches.
Community Bible Church encouraged churchgoers to “exercise a high level of caution” as COVID-19-related concerns persist. The church also encouraged others who did not feel safe participating in public to join in prayer through Facebook Live.
The vigil in San Antonio comes as several other peaceful prayer vigils have been held nationwide in recent days following Floyd’s death.
Lucado was one of several leaders who spoke and prayed over a microphone during the gathering. He cited Luke 4 to point out that God sent Christ to heal the brokenhearted, set free all who are oppressed.
"Where Jesus is, those who are traumatized find hope, find a fresh start, find a new beginning," he said. "Where Jesus is, every person is valued, the Gospel is declared."
Lucado posted another video as the worship band played the song “Break Every Chain.”
“[We’re] inviting the work of God to come back,” he said. “Bring a blessing to the Alamo City.”
On Wednesday morning, hours before the vigil, Lucado posted a 10-minute video on his Facebook page in which he offered a “word for anybody who feels overwhelmed” at a time when protests and destruction have taken center stage after months of pandemic shutdown.
“The rest of society is stressed, abandoning ship, walking away, tossing in the towel, angry, bitter at each other,” Lucado said. “We are in desperate need of a few Jesus-loving, God-fearing, spirit-filled people to turn to Christ and say, ‘Christ, just help us.’ My name is on that list. I hope yours is as well because He will and He can.”
At a time when many are searching for answers to questions about equality and race relations in the U.S., Lucado said people can feel overwhelmed as they try to solve societal problems with only a human response. In addition, there are other problems that individuals and families are facing during this time that might also cause further anxiety.
“Doesn’t it seem that every day brings a new set of problems: the COVID-19, the quarantine, masks, the elderly, over 100,000 deaths, 40 million unemployed, protests and looting. We are beginning to feel whipsawed and beginning to feel battered,” he said.
“If you do [feel overwhelmed], I think I got a story from the New Testament that would give you some courage as you face these feelings of feeling overwhelmed.”
Lucado pulled from John 6 to tell the story of when Jesus fed the 5,000 near the town of Bethsaida.
“We think there must have been at least 15,000 — 5,000 men plus women and children. At a certain point, Jesus realized they had nothing to eat,” Lucado said.
“They had no more food in their sacs. They had no access to trucks or stores. These 15,000-plus people, they are hungry, their stomachs were grumbling and Jesus asked this question of his followers: ‘Where can we buy enough bread to feed all these people?’”
Lucado said Jesus was asking the question “to test Phillip because He knew what He Himself was going to do.”
“Phillip responded: ‘Several thousand dollars' worth of bread wouldn’t be enough to give even a tiny bite to all these people.’ One of Jesus’ other disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to Jesus, ‘There is a boy here with five loaves of barley bread and two fish. ‘What are these things when there are all these people?’” Lucado recited.
“Phillip was a practical [guy] and He looked out over the sea of faces. He heard the murmurs and He imagined the grumbling stomachs. He replied with absolutely no hesitation: ‘We don’t got what it takes to face this challenge. Our purse hasn’t got the coins. Our budget hasn’t got the dollars. Our capacity doesn’t have the ability. There are too many mouths and there is not enough [money].’”
Lucado told viewers to notice the “thrice-repeated” phrase of “all these people.”
“Phillip saw no help for ‘all these people’ and Andrew had an idea but that idea wilted in the faces of ‘all these people,’” Lucado said.
Lucado asked his viewers to consider what their version of “all these people” is today.
“The disciples felt overwhelmed. Maybe you do too. It might be something as pedestrian as ‘all these diapers’ or ‘all this homework’ or ‘all these long days,’” Lucado said.
“Or it might be as disrupting as ‘all this looting’ or ‘all this violence’ or ‘all this death’ or ‘all this depression’ or ‘all these bills,’” he added. “Whatever it is, the demand outstrips the supply and you are left feeling as hopeless as Phillip and as meager as Andrew.”
Lucado said he would have liked to see the disciples respond in a different manner to the situation, considering they had already witnessed some of Jesus’ miracles.
“They have seen a lame man walk. You would like to see more spunk and more grit, more ‘we can’t do it but You can, Jesus,’” Lucado said.
“They and the silent others show no spark. They counted the hungry people. They counted the money in their bag. They counted the bread and the fish. But they did not, however, count on Christ He was standing right there. He could not have been nearer. Yet the idea of soliciting help did not dawn on them. Even so, Jesus went right to work.”
Jesus supplied enough food to feed everyone and enough was left over to fill 12 baskets.
“Jesus took care of the situation, didn’t He?” Lucado said.
“This impossible challenge of feeding ‘all these people’ became the unforgettable miracle of ‘all these people’ fed.”
Lucado stressed that “What we cannot do, Christ does.” He warned that the disciples are the “picture of the moments in life when we try to solve our problems without Christ.”
“These are serious problems that we face [today]. They are extremely difficult, uphill into the wind. Do you feel like you are facing 5,000 challenges?” Lucado asked. “Before you count your money, before you count yourself out, and before you count your meager amount of fish and bread, can I urge to count on Christ?”