The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Ask any counselor, and they will tell you just how nerve-wracking stepping into your cabin on Sunday afternoon for the first time that week can be. Questions like “what if I don’t get along with the kids”, “what if we have different interests”, and “what if they don’t listen to me” can quickly take over and consume those final steps up from the gauntlet. The devil loves to fling lies of inadequacy, doubt, and insecurity towards our sweaty, sunburned faces.
The King of Rock and Broll, a counselor here at the Shores, felt particularly concerned for his week one cabin this summer. As he left the road to meet his cabin of high school guys, he prayed very specifically over the week. Broll prayed for unity and cohesiveness in his cabin, so they would support each other as a whole and be able to spur one another on towards a deeper relationship with God. He also knew that one of his campers, Travis, has a social disability that would necessitate a personal counselor, named Sweat and Sour Chicken, who would accompany him everywhere during week one. Knowing that the dynamic of his cabin would look a bit different, he lifted up his concerns to the Lord, turned the door knob and stepped inside.
Broll and Sweats quickly discovered the power of faithful prayer as, to their surprise, the cabin was already acting as one: singing “Sweet Home Alabama” in unison with Travis on lead vocals. Their prayers had already been answered and the week had only just begun. Later that evening as the cabin gathered before bed, Broll asked the guys to write what they would like to learn or grow in during their time at camp on a notecard for him to pray over that week. Travis wrote, “I want to learn how to pray.” At club, Travis saw Sweats praying and asked what he was doing. Travis then decided to repeat after Sweats and said his first prayer.
The power of prayer was surely undeniable as the week progressed and the cabin grew to be like brothers. They continued to sing, lay down beats, and play air guitar together as they learned more about what it looks like to follow the Lord.
Broll and Sweats daily prayed over the cabin and their requests on the notecards as they also helped Travis practice prayer through repetition. On the last night, they circled up as a cabin for the last time. They prayed thanks for the week and guidance over the coming days at home. According to Broll, “It was unbelievable to hear these passionate prayers crying out to God for help as they went home to battle the daily struggles of real life. It came around to Travis and he looked over to Sweats and asked for help, so Sweats got another opportunity to pray with Travis that night.”
But as the clock continued towards TAPS and the night progressed, Broll and Sweats prayed harder and harder for Travis’ independence in prayer. Towards the end of worship, Broll asked Travis if he would like to practice praying on his own. To both Sweats and Broll’s delight, he emphatically agreed but asked for prompting. Broll said he “told him just start with ‘Dear God,’ tell Him why you love Him and then end with ‘Amen.’ He nodded and took off his hat, and for the first time, prayed on his very own. He said ‘Dear Lord, thank you for today. Thank you that you love me so much. Thank you for sending your son down to die for me on the cross to take away my sins so I can live with you in Heaven forever. I love you so much. Amen.” Upon finishing this prayer, the three of them could not contain their excitement. Prayer was answered and prayer was given in that moment and both resulted in abounding joy.
Later that night, Travis also agreed to pray for their cabin in bed. He said “Dear God… Amen!” He jumped out of his bed and yelled “I did it! Sweats, you gotta tell my dad!” Broll said that Travis “had so much joy from praying— I’ve never seen anything like it. The whole cabin was clapping and yelling with him!”
Prayer changed everything that week. It strengthened the relationships within the cabin, the relationship between Travis and his counselors, and all of their relationships with Christ.