KARACHI: Pakistan is a country with many ailments: from corruption to floods. But the country’s Christians are optimistic that the power of prayer will help restore the country’s vitality.
They requested Canadian evangelist Peter Youngren to come to Karachi and pray for their health as well as the country. Their wishes were realised on Wednesday when he held a faith-healing session at the Bagh-e-Jinnah ground – a symbolic venue with Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum standing majestically in the background. A massive crowd had gathered there: some came to pray for their disabilities and others in the hope to alleviate the mental stress.
But all of them had also come to pray for another miracle: a peaceful and united Pakistan. That is why the event was named the ‘Karachi Friendship Festival’.
Sarfaraz William, the national manager of the World Impact Ministry in Pakistan, which is Youngren’s organisation, said, “The situation in the country is deteriorating day by day. People have picked up weapons to control the situation. But we have faith in God and through prayers, we can bring change.” Behind him, a group of young men and women on the stage sang the hymn ‘Yaasu aye ga’.
The community had arranged their own security. Young boys in black t-shirts, which said ‘Pray for Pakistan’, kept an eye on the crowd. Some people, called ‘prayer warriors’, were also praying for the safety of the event. Samar Gul, who was one of them, said that she had been praying for eight months. “Half of our warriors are at church. We are praying against any unwanted incident or terrorism attack at this site,” she said as she looked at the sky with her arms outstretched.
Youngren was born in Sweden in 1954 and his career as an evangelist spans 30 years. He has claimed to have helped people in 85 countries. The last time he visited Karachi was in 2008.
People of other faiths also attended the event. Shabnam Shahid, a Muslim, had brought her physically challenged son. “I have tried all kinds of treatment, but nothing worked. I hope that a miracle will take place tonight.” Nearby, Jacob, a victim of car accident sat on his wheelchair. He hoped to be on his feet by the end of the session.
When Youngren finally arrived, the gleeful crowd cheered. “Shukriya shukriya.”
Youngren asked the people to raise their arms, and pray, saying that God could bring peace to anyone. A man translated Youngren’s words to the crowd. He asked the blind and deaf to be brought near the stage. As the healing session started, he asked people to stand up. The praying began.
He told them. “I am very happy to be in Karachi. I will not talk about religion. I will talk about Allah and Jesus (RA) and you. All my Muslim friends, you can come… there will be no discrimination here. God loves every person.”