Butler County

Tonight, I met with my friend Peter at his home in Birmingham, along with a few of his other friends. Mostly, people I didn’t know. There were nine of us, gathering for a very important meeting.

A prayer vigil.

When I arrived, Peter’s two dogs started barking loudly when I knocked on the door. One of them tried to commit an immoral act on my leg. The dog, not Peter.

The dog’s name was Moose. “Moose loves people,” Peter explained. “He just wants you to know how much he loves you.”

Moose does more than love me. He is trying to start a family with my shinbone.

A few of Peter’s friends were still in work clothes. One man was dressed in an auto mechanic’s uniform. Another woman was wearing veterinary scrubs.

I, myself, had just gotten off the road after nearly 11 days. But Peter said tonight was important, so here I am.

Peter is a former resident of Butler County, Pennsylvania. He tells me that there are some 200,000 people in Butler County, and many of them are praying for one person.

Make that 200,009 people.

We are all praying for a 17-year-old named Mason Martin, a high-school quarterback who remains in critical condition.

A few nights ago, in Karns City, Pennsylvania, something tragic happened at a football game. Karns City High School was playing Redbank Valley High School. Redbank was opening a can of kick-butt on Karns City. The score was 35-6. Mason took a bad hit.

In the third quarter, referee Mike Vasbiner noticed Mason was staggering on the field.

“I had to talk to him, and when I asked if he was alright, he told me, ‘No.’ So that’s when I knew something was wrong.”

Mason is suffering a brain bleed and a collapsed lung. The boy collapsed on the field. The game was called off. And Mason was rushed to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Mason’s mother said yesterday that Mason is still in critical condition, with hardly any changes over the last 36 hours. It’s not looking good.

“The truth is we need a miracle,” she said. “I’m not saying that to sound grim, but to let you know that we need the strength of your prayers.”

And so Peter called a meeting. A ragtag group of reprobates and sinners, such as myself, met at his home. We sat in the den.

It’s important to note: None of us are regular churchgoers. None of us are what you’d call “religious.” Admittedly, very few, if any of us have earned favors in heaven. Personally, I know for certain my name is a swear word Up Yonder.

But, despite our personal issues, we at the vigil all share one thing in common: We have all been 17 before. Also, we have all been alive long enough to know that somehow, unexplainably, regardless of merit, prayer works.

There are two among us who have had terminal cancer. Both healed. There is also one among us who suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury. His entire community prayed, day and night. Today, he jogs 6 miles daily.

“Dear God,” said the first person at the vigil, “I know you’re listening…”

The prayers went around the circle. And a handful of no-name sinners in Alabama asked heaven to pay special attention to a young man with a brain injury; a kid who lives some 807 miles away. We don’t know Mason. But it doesn’t matter.

“We know you can do it, God,” said one of us.

So I don’t know where you live, or whether you are a person who prays. But I’m asking you, as a friend, to add Mason Martin to your prayers, if you have time.

“No one believes in this kid more than us,” said Mason’s mom. “But he needs everyone’s strength and prayers… So please pray [in the same] way Mason has always played the game: all out, holding nothing back, maybe a little angry, aggressive…”

Well, Mason, you’ve got nine ordinary people in Alabama, giving it all we’ve got.


  1. Pat - September 6, 2023 3:45 am

    Another ordinary here (in NC) offered a prayer as soon as this came up on your Instagram.

  2. Melika - September 6, 2023 10:00 am

    And another person up here in Canada just mow sent a prayer to God for healing for Mason and his family. I will start a prayer circle here as well.

  3. stephen e acree - September 6, 2023 10:08 am

    Lord, watch over Mason. Help him if you can. Thank you, Lord.

  4. Paul - September 6, 2023 10:53 am

    Got Mason covered here in Gilbert, SC. Calling in Jesus name to heal and comfort.

  5. Gigi22 - September 6, 2023 12:08 pm

    Praying for Mason🙏🙏♥️♥️

  6. Sean Chatham - September 6, 2023 12:18 pm

    Athens, GA checking in. Lord, we need a miracle. Be with his family, loved ones, and coaches too.

  7. Terry Holloway - September 6, 2023 12:26 pm

    Know 10 Praying for Mason

  8. Jane Robinson - September 6, 2023 9:24 pm

    Yes Lord, we continue to life Mason up to you for healing and restoration of health that all may see and you would be glorified. In Jesus’ precious name I pray.

  9. pattymack43 - September 6, 2023 10:43 pm

    Praying that your will will be done in the life of Mason Martin, Lord. Please bring comfort and peace to the hearts of his parents and extended family. In Christ, we pray. Amen.

  10. Bubba Stubbs - September 6, 2023 10:44 pm

    Sean, Mason’s got my prayers, along with the doctors, nurses, and technicians that are treating him. I’m praying that God will give them all supernatural skills so that, when all’s said and done, He will get all the honor and glory for healing Mason!

  11. Kelley Wright - September 6, 2023 10:45 pm

    Praying here in Sylacauga Alabama. Praying for healing for Mason and strength for the family.

  12. Sandra Schuettinger - September 7, 2023 3:11 am

    Praying here in Collierville, TN for Martin and his family as well as the doctors and nurses who are caring for him.

  13. Linda Everrtt - September 7, 2023 3:28 am

    Prayers going up for this young man. Your eye is on the sparrow Lord, so we know you are watching over Mason. Thank you Lord for all you do!


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