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Joining a gang was the only way Rodrigo could imagine surviving on the dangerous streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With natural leadership abilities, by his mid-teens he found himself to be a key leader of one of the largest, most violent gangs in the city.

Gang warfare, often following nationally popular soccer games, was common. Fueled by alcohol, drugs and adrenaline these battles often resulted in young people seriously injured or killed. Yet Rodrigo somehow managed to survive.

One day on the streets some women sought him out. They said they were Youth for Christ “Prayer Mothers” and they were going to pray for him. Rodrigo couldn’t care less.

Not long after, he found himself the target in another gang battle. This time he ended up seriously injured. Rushed to the hospital, it was doubtful he would survive.

The Youth for Christ Prayer Mothers, upon hearing about Rodrigo, went to the hospital, surrounded his bed, and began a prayer vigil. Miraculously, Rodrigo survived. When he regained consciousness and opened his eyes the first thing he saw were these praying mothers.

Looking into their eyes, Rodrigo said he saw the love of Jesus and it changed his heart.

Rodrigo is just one example of young people who have been prayed into the Kingdom by these Youth for Christ prayer mothers. What began in Brazil in 1995 is now called WakeUp Deborah and is a global prayer movement that is calling and equipping parents to pray for lost youth. With over 100,000 Deborahs (praying mothers) in over 50 countries, this movement partners in prayer with Youth for Christ missionaries to see every young person reached.
“This is a wonderful movement that I think comes from the heart of a God who wants to save our youth, who is weeping and is concerned about the state of our youth,” Silvia Brynjolfson, WakeUp Deborah Coordinator for Canada and Latin America said. “I see God calling people like you to be his voice, his arms... It is prayer, but it is prayer in action.”

WakeUp Deborah members are encouraged to pray daily for their own children and children in their communities. In some nations they go into the streets, to hospitals, prisons or meet together in their homes and neighborhoods.

For Rodrigo, the praying mothers led to life-change. Following his surrender to Christ, Rodrigo served for several years as a Youth for Christ team leader in Rio reaching hundreds of gang members for Jesus. Rodrigo’s praying mothers continued to support and encourage him in his ministry.

“Rodrigo was prayed into the Kingdom by a handful of ordinary women who, through the power of prayer, were able to do extraordinary things. I can’t imagine any youth ministry that would design a strategy of sending middle-aged women onto the streets of Rio to reach the leader of a street gang. But when we allow God to direct ministry, He continues to surprise us with how He uses the unexpected and the seeming illogical to reach into this world and to love people into His Kingdom,” said David Wraight, former Youth for Christ International President. “Without the prayers of the ministry partners who stand with us in our ministry, there is no way we could fulfill our calling and achieve all that God requires of us.”

For more information on WakeUp Deborah or to find out how you can get involved, go to:
The YFC Prayer Team would love to pray for you and any concerns you may have. Please let us know by clicking the image above.
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