crabbYoung men in his church were expected to pray aloud in Communion services. So the young Larry Crabb felt pressured to pray, even though he had a problem with stuttering. He remembers offering a terribly confused prayer in which he thanked the Father for hanging on the cross and praised Christ for triumphantly bringing the Spirit from the grave.

When he was finished, he vowed he would never again pray out loud in front of a group.

At the end of the service, Crabb made for the door. Before he could get out, an older man caught him. “Larry, there’s one thing I want you to know,” the man said. “Whatever you do for the Lord, I’m behind you 1,000 percent.”

“Even as I write these words, my eyes fill with tears,” says Crabb, who has since become a bestselling book author, psychologist, and speaker. “Those words were life words. They had power. They reached deep into my being.”

—Based on Larry Crabb, Encouragement (Zondervan, 1984)

Craig Brian Larson and Phyllis Ten Elshof, 1001 Illustrations That Connect (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2008), 320.