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Al and Deb Warner: Taking "Prayer Walking" to New Heights over Niagara Falls


by Al and Deb Warner
Aug 4, 2012

Steve ShultzFrom the desk of Steve Shultz:

Al and Deb Warner are the founders and directors of Set Free Inc. in the Buffalo, NY area. They have a heart for that region including the Niagara area, where famed wire walker Nik Wallenda recently walked across the Niagara Falls. Who can forget that televised event live on ABC as Nik was praising God across the Falls? There are some great prophetic lessons to be learned from this event as Al and Deb Warner share in this article.

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"Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls..." Psalm 42:7 NIV

"The King of the Wire puts his faith in the King of kings." QMI news agency

Revs. Al and Deb Warner (on behalf of those who serve the regional church in Western New York & Southern Ontario):

The eyes of the world were on Niagara Falls, twin cities in the U.S. and Canada, as Nik Wallenda performed his high-wire walk on June 15th. To the amazement of millions of people who watched breathlessly, Nik seemed calm, had a smile on his face, granted interviews during the walk, and spent much of the 25 heart-pounding minutes praying and quoting Scripture as the ABC crowd listened in.

Nik talked to both his earthly father, Terry, and his Heavenly Father:

"Thank You for Your peace, Lord. Thank You for Your confidence, God. Thank You Jesus."

"Thank You Jesus, my righteous King. Praise You, Father God. Praise You, Jesus."

"God is good. What an amazing opportunity. What a blessing."

"Oh Lord, You are my Savior, You are my King. You are my Jesus. You are my Counselor, You are my wisdom. Praise You Jesus."

Nick prayed and prophesied over two nations as the world held its collective breath. Of course Nik does not just pray when the television cameras are on, but as Nik says, "I'm always praying."

As is the case for Christians across the world, our region (which includes Western New York and Southern Ontario) has been believing for a move of God of epic proportions to come in our midst. We have fasted, we have prayed, we have repented, we have prophesied, we have come together. But could God have moved outside our religious 'box' to answer our collective prayers? I am reminded of God's word to Isaiah, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43:19a). Could a daredevil's stunt be an answer to our prayers?

Steve Shultz summed it up this way for his Elijah List readers shortly after the event: "Perhaps the most prophetic event ever that we have posted, is a link to a man walking from the USA to Canada. ...God allows, even prophesied, that we would not "see it coming" what HE was about to do. He would say things like, 'Eye has NOT seen, nor ear heard, what God has in store for His children.'"

April 17, 2012 – Doug Addison's prophetic word:
"This month I keep feeling that there is something significant that is going to be centered right around the Niagara Falls area. God is releasing something new and powerful that will prove to be a dividing point for many who do not understand how God's power works."

May 15, 2012 – Kathie Walters prophetic word:
"Many people have had visions of Niagara being a type of the next and last great move of the Spirit... Niagara is coming – it is close, closer than you think, and you are being drawn by His love and His power."

Kathie Walters wrote, "The coming move of God may not be as you think." As my wife Deb and I watched and listened to Nik, it dawned on us that we were observing the most surprising move of God that we have ever witnessed. What happened in the Niagara region to prepare for this unconventional move of God? Long before the international press turned its cameras toward Niagara, God was preparing the ground for seed and harvest.

Niagara Falls, NY, has been declining for 50 years.
1959 – Niagara Falls, NY, population, 110,000
2012 – Niagara Falls, NY, population, 51,000

God is resurrecting Niagara Falls. Recent highlights include:
August, 2003 – Pastors in Niagara Falls, NY, came to together to pray in response to a word from Canadian pastor Dennis Wiedrick, as well as the murdering of youth in the city. Continues to this day.

August, 2006 – Cindy Jacobs' prophetic word at Niagara Falls:
"The Lord says look to the north of America to the Niagara Falls area, even in the Peace Bridge area for there is a hotbed of terrorism in that area... listen, anyone that lives along the northern borders of the United States, the very northern border, God is calling us to pray. God is calling for Canadians, God is calling for those in the U.S. Let us join hand to hand and let's intercede and let's protect our nation."

February, 2008 – Pastors from Niagara Falls, NY, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, gather to pray.

September, 2008 – 400+ pastors and intercessors from both sides of the border, including the mayors of Niagara Falls, NY and Ontario, gathered and prayed on the Rainbow Bridge, thus spanning the Niagara Gorge and linking two nations in prayer. This was in response to a prophetic word given by Cindy Jacobs in 2006.

May, 2009 – Chuck Pierce's prophetic word:
"...it will be known all over our nation that Buffalo and the waters of Niagara Falls are a sign of the river of God that has come into Buffalo. We thank you that even the power stations in the Buffalo area and in the Niagara area will begin to shift, and you will begin to activate new industry, and you will begin to move in a new way."

August, 2010 – Delia Knox, native daughter of Western New York, healed in Kilpatrick meetings in Mobile, AL, after 22 years crippled in a wheelchair. Delia returned here in October, and local healings broke out.

June 15, 2012 – Nik Wallenda walked over Niagara Falls.

What are Some Lessons to be Learned from Nik Wallenda?

1. Nik first dreamed of walking over Niagara Falls when his parents brought him here when he was 6. He stewarded the dream for 27 years, including years of training and planning, along with seemingly insurmountable obstacles and disappointments. Both the U.S. and Canada had to change their 128-year-old ban on Niagara Falls stunts. Divine dreams require persistence and endurance to complete successfully. (Photo courtesy: ABC)

2. We were nervous when we heard that Nik Wallenda was going to perform in Niagara Falls. We were afraid that Nik might be added to the long list of visionaries that have come here and died, either literally or figuratively. But the season has changed. We cannot let the past paralyze our future. Although Nik fought it, ABC required that he be tethered throughout the walk. We believe the tether may be a prophetic picture – visionaries are safer when they are tethered (rightly aligned, connected to or partnering) with one another. We are better TOGETHER!

3. As Nik listened to the voice of his father, Terry, in his ear, he received the wisdom and encouragement he needed to complete his dream. Terry was also a veteran wire-walker with 36 years of experience. We have our Father's reassuring voice, as well as seasoned saints cheering us on (Hebrews 12)

4. Encouraged by the roar of the crowd as he got closer to land, Nik sprinted the final few steps. Nik finished well, as Scripture encourages us to do. But you may not hear the crowd's cheers until the end.

5. Even 'secular' news sources reported on Nik's faith in their coverage.

• Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press "A born-again Christian, Wallenda said he stays calm on the wire by talking to God, quoting Scripture and praying."

• The Toronto Star, "His wife and three children held hands and prayed with him minutes before he began. ...Prayer comes easily to Nik, a born-again Christian, who thanked God and Jesus out loud – and through his microphone to the world – for much of his 25-minute feat."

• Good Morning America, ABC, directly asked Nik about his praying while he walked the wire. "I prayed non-stop. The Bible says to pray without ceasing and I'm always praying."

• Buffalo News, "Once the cameras were shut off, Wallenda walked around the park, picked up cigarette butts and tried to make sure the piles of trash left by media staffers were cleaned up."

We often criticize secular television for its lack of positive coverage of Christian events. But ABC took this to a far greater audience than Christian television could have. ABC – 13.1 million viewers. Canadian CTV television – 6.8 million viewers. Internet viewers estimated at over a billion people worldwide (Enigma Research). Could it be that God is positioning Christians to "know their God... and carry out great exploits"? (Daniel 11:32, NKJV)

What's next for Nik and for our region? Nik told the Buffalo News, "There will always be a piece of my heart in Niagara Falls... The truth is, I do see a future here and hope to have a show in this area and hope to spend more time here."

Nik, thank you for releasing a new spirit to dream and hope again throughout our region. Perhaps you succeeded even beyond your own lofty goals to 'inspire people.' On behalf of our cities, thank you Nik, for hearing God and persevering to walk it out!

"So there was great joy in that city." Acts 8:8

Al and Deb Warner
Set Free inc
.
Email: info@setfreeinc.org

Reverands Al and Deb Warner are the founders and directors of Set Free Inc. Set Free is a networking ministry connecting business, governmental and church leaders for a Nehemiah-like rebuilding and transformation of our city. Al and Deb have over 30 years experience pastoring local churches and working as missionaries in Hong Kong. In 1997, God laid a burden on their heart to bring the regional church of greater Buffalo, NY, together. As they obeyed, God birthed their ministry, Set Free Inc. The Warners have led multiple prayer and training events over the years, including National Day of Prayer.

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