Sometimes it’s hard to see God working in our everyday lives.
We can walk down the street day after day without really noticing His presence.
But sometimes, He chooses to reveal Himself in overwhelmingly powerful ways!
That was the case when former gang members paused in the street to pray for a group of police officers.
It was an unexpected situation with a complicated history.
The men who prayed were members of Victory Outreach Church in Stockton, California.
Established in 1985, Victory Outreach was founded to evangelize to the inner-city communities of California.
The church recognizes the significant need for God’s love and salvation in the crime-ridden areas of California’s cities and focuses on outreach to drug addicts and gang members.
Victory Outreach knows that people often encounter God when they are at their lowest points, whether that be in prison, on the street, or in drug rehabilitation facilities.
The church has expanded their work on a global scale, leading many to Christ through compassion, faith, and much prayer.
“It is compassion that triumphs…faith that endures,” the church founders wrote of their work.
The men in this story have been deeply impacted by Victory Outreach. They were once gang members and drug addicts, but they encountered Jesus through the work of Victory Outreach.
Formerly the outcasts of society, these men have found hope in Christ. He has changed their lives in amazing ways!
They once terrorized the streets of Stockton as gang members, but now they regularly walk the streets to spread the Gospel. In this case, the men had gathered to pray for the city and its residents.
They were determined to make a difference.
It wasn’t long, however, before someone spotted them walking the streets and felt suspicious. A short time later, the police appeared on the scene.
The police were on edge, thinking they were responding to a gang threat or something equally dangerous, but the church members quickly did their best to defuse the tension.
What could have been a messy situation became a prayer meeting instead!
One of the young men asked the police officers if he could pray for them. Startled at first, the police agreed, and a prayer circle was formed in the middle of the street.
“Lord, Father God, we pray that you would protect them,” the men prayed over the police officers, “for Your Word says that You are with the peacemakers.”
“We pray, Lord God, that their families, Lord God Almighty, will never have to hear bad news.”
The group continued to ask for God’s protection over the police officers. “Keep using them, God, to model peace…justice…and love!”
The prayers continued as neighbors and passersby gathered around the circle to share in the moment. “We thank you for these soldiers, Father God!”
The police officers were honored and touched that the group of evangelists chose to pray for them and thanked them.
Afterward, the group—formerly targets of the police—went peacefully on their way to continue praying for the city.
What a special encounter with God!
It took courage for the men to pray for the police instead of being offended by the assumptions that brought the officers to them. They demonstrated the humility, love, and compassion that brought them to Christ in the first place.
They’re living proof of God’s work through Victory Outreach Church.
Victory Outreach has established campuses all over the world, not just in California. Their mission is “to plant and develop churches, rehabilitation homes, and training centers” for inner-city communities in need of the Gospel.
One of their most powerful ministries is their Recovery Homes, where drug and alcohol addicts can come to reclaim their lives and experience Jesus’ redemptive power.
Victory Outreach also runs a youth ministry for high school and college students, which focuses on giving young people in cities a positive community as an alternative to the temptations of gang life.
As was clearly shown in this story, Victory Outreach Church is having a powerful impact! To learn more about the church’s ministry and needs, visit the church website.
And remember, as these men did, that Jesus is present and working everywhere—even in the middle of the street!