Can you imagine standing before a crowd of thousands—and a billion others watching on TV—and praying for the inauguration of the United States' president? My good friend Pastor Sam Rodriguez had that exact experience, and I had the privilege of watching him from the crowd.
I was so proud of Pastor Sam as he boldly prayed in the name of Jesus, something no one had done on that stage for 11 years. (We recently had the privilege of having Sam on the cover of Charisma's May issue. Click here for a special offer on that issue.) In my interview with him for my "In Depth With Stephen Strang" podcast—which you can listen to right here or in this article—he told me that people had warned him not to pray in Jesus' name. If he did, they said, he would offend someone. But Sam has only one agenda—the Lamb's.
"I was told by even a media personality, 'Don't say [in Jesus' name], Sam. If you say it, you're going to alienate half the country,'" he tells me. "I was pressured not to say it. But man, I'm driven by the Holy Spirit. And I will never be silent about the most transformative name in all of the universe—the name of Jesus."
Listening to Sam pray that day was almost like listening to the Scriptures. Sam tells me he was honored to pray over President Donald Trump that day, but there was a time when he felt he had missed his turn spiritually, which he details in his new book, You Are Next. In his book, which Charisma House published, he teaches how to let go of your excuses and never miss your moment again.
"[At one point], I thought I missed my turn," Sam says. "It was arguably one of the most challenging moments for various reasons. There was a major publication—I'm not going to mention the name, but it's a major secular publication—that committed to ... profile us on the cover of the magazine. And so all of a sudden, because of our advisory component [to three different presidents] and because of our pro-life, pro-biblical values, they made a promise. When the publication was published, they highlighted the people I recommended, and they totally ditched us, even after sending a crew, a photo group to profile my family."
Sam felt silly. He had told his friends and family that the media publication was going to profile him on the cover, and now he had nothing to show for it.
"It was a moment where God dealt more with my pride," he says. "God said, 'All right, Samuel, what are you going to do next?'"
Sam found out he was excluded from the publication because he refused to sacrifice his biblical values. He refused to say what the media publication wanted him to say and violate his beliefs on the sanctity of life.
"I thought I missed my turn," he says. "And then all of a sudden, I saw God's reward for not sacrificing truth on the altar of political expediency. I was able to pray in front of 1.1 billion people and lift up the name of Jesus Christ across the world. That shows me that God is faithful to His promises."
In You Are Next, Sam says too many Christians reach that point of feeling as though they missed their turn with God. Like the paralyzed man by the pool of Bethesda, they feel overlooked and hopeless. The problem, Sam says, is that we depend more on man than on God.
"This man literally was at the edge of the pool," he says. "He would see other people get their healing miracle, their breakthrough, and he would miss it every time. He says, 'I miss my turn. I miss my turn every time because I am dependent on other people to put me in the pool.' So I wrote this book to confront the issue of paralysis via the conduit of dependency."
This dependency on man can lead Christians to a paralysis that puts their lives on hold.
"Many of us ... depend on people for our joy, our peace, our faith, our family, our finances, our future," he says. "We depend on others more than we depend on God. So that right there is the initial silo of the book that really drove me, because I've been paralyzed. I've had moments in my life where I was paralyzed by negative circumstances or a bad report. I was paralyzed by self-inflicted wounds or wounds that others inflicted on me."
Sam hopes that his book will help put an end to spiritual paralysis once and for all.
"I'm believing when you read this book, not only will you never be paralyzed again, but your faith, your family, your future will never be paralyzed again," he says. "I'm believing by faith through Christ that you are next, that you're next for the breakthrough, next for the harvest, next for the miracle and next to see the grace, the gift and the glory God exhibited in you, with you and through you."
I've read Sam's book, and I believe it can help you shake off the paralysis you've been experiencing and walk in God's call on your life. Even though I've been saved longer than Sam has been alive, his book ministered to me on a deep level. I've lived a very blessed life, but his book helped me see that there's so much more that I need to believe God for. It's given me a fresh outlook on faith.
You can get a free copy of You Are Next when you buy a subscription to Charisma magazine. Just visit next.charismamag.com and get your yearlong subscription plus a free copy of Sam's book for just $24.97. That's a 60% discount!
If Sam's message encourages you, share this article with a friend and listen to my "In Depth With Stephen Strang" podcast right here or at the top of this article.
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