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The Story of Just Pray NO!

How a heartfelt prayer went around the world.

“One boy’s courageous stance against drugs and the power of effectual fervent prayer is still impacting lives for time and eternity around the world.”
by Steven L. Sherman, Founder of “Just Pray NO!” Ltd.

The weekend of April 23rd  – April 24th, 2022 has been designated as the 32nd Annual Worldwide Weekend of Prayer and Fasting organized by the “Just Pray NO!” nonprofit corporation. Over the past thirty plus years we have had intercessors praying to break bondages and to pull down the strongholds of addiction from every state in the United States and from six continents. Although the news of our annual weekend prayer event has been carried by CBN, Family News in Focus, Plus Magazine, Decision Today, Charisma Magazine, as well as several major radio networks, few people know how God used a young boy’s tragedy and a heartfelt prayer to touch lives around the world.

In 1990, if I were asked, I probably would have answered, “No, I don’t really believe in miracles.” At the age of forty-two, father of three children and having taught junior high school for twenty-three years, my outlook on life was becoming grim in the wake of drug-related violence that plagued New York City.

Each school year was becoming harder to face. When I first started teaching, my main discipline concerns were gum-chewing and students who would call out answers to questions without raising their hands. Two decades later, public schools were patrolled by security guards, weapons were confiscated, fights, robberies and even murder became routine.

One evening, I was reading the newspaper at the dining room table. My heart ached with each story I read. They were all connected with illicit drugs. The first story concerned a police officer who was ambushed by drug dealers. The second headline story concerned a grandfather who was dealing cocaine. But the last story I read that evening caused me to break out sobbing.

A young boy, just one day before his twelfth birthday, refused to smoke crack with the neighborhood bully. He just said, “No!” It was winter. The bully hit his friend over the head with a snow shovel and dragged him into a basement. He tied the boy up to a radiator with his socks, placed the boy’s schoolbooks on his chest and then set him on fire. When the boy’s socks burned through, he was able to escape and roll in the snow. His life was spared, but he sustained burns on 80% of his body.

I cried and cried. I said to the Lord, “How can we just say, `No?’ It’s not working. All the educational programs and even the First Lady Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug campaign were not helping to stem the tide of addiction. The Lord, in the still quiet voice of the Spirit, spoke to me audibly. He said, “Just Pray NO!” This message burned in my bones. I shared this divine inspirational message with friends at church. Everyone was enthusiastic and supportive.

I wanted Christians to unite in spiritual warfare to battle addiction. The task was ambitious. Although I was advised to start locally and allow the concept to grow over the course of years, I had a vision for a worldwide day of prayer and concern. I believed that the Great Commission authorized believers to be witnesses of Christ to the ends of the earth. I believed that God would honor my simple prayer asked in faith. I prayed that the message of “Just Pray NO!” to drugs would be heard around the world. I took a step of faith and declared that there would be a worldwide day of prayer one year later on April 7, 1991.

My life drastically changed as I devoted all my spare time to spreading the news of the upcoming event. Often I would go to bed long after the rest of the family was sleeping, spending many hours at my typewriter writing personal messages encouraging churches and other Christian organizations to commit to pray with us.

Many national and international organizations started to endorse the “Just Pray NO!” day of prayer on behalf of the addicted and their families. Although the vision was international in scope, the emphasis was upon local, neighborhood action and commitment.

I knew that God answered my prayer that “Just Pray NO!” would be a worldwide event when I received a letter from Plus Magazine promising to publish an article that would publicize our event globally. Plus Magazine published the story of the first annual worldwide prayer event in 23 languages to 2 ½ million people around the world in 118 countries. In addition to letters from Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, letters from every state in the United States including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands came in from people wishing to join in intercessory prayer on behalf of the addicted and their families.

One young boy’s courageous stance against drugs and the power of effectual fervent prayer is still impacting lives for time and eternity around the world.

  1. in the alictre is so true “The great need of the hour is the ability to perceive. Lost and foreign to the Body of Christ is its capacity to discern rightly the times and season that are upon the earth and God’s call in this hour.” Having Wisdom to know what to do with what we Discern is a great void in the Church. For there is a Clear and Present Danger going on right now, that is a great power outage in the Church the reason is exactly what you said one must go into the Holy place to have Perception to have that sweet time with Papa God in prayer& fasting in the secret place there we are clothe with power from on high with wisdom and discernment. Blessings to you and all who enter the narrow gate. Matthew Stephen.

    • Yes, there is great power in prayer and fasting. Fasting is a sacrifice which pleases God because we deny our flesh to walk in the Spirit and our prayers are more effectual.

      • Guy, Prayer is one of your greatest wapoen of warfare against the enemy. I think as a truck driver the memorized Word of God is good too. Pray the word of God into your life. Whenever you have impure or evil thoughts coming into your mind, recite a scripture verse and pray over it. I will do my part too to pray for you. Here’s a good verse to think about: Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Pt. 5:7)God’s love and care to you,Stephen

      • I agree with you that prayer is a powerful weapon against the enemy of our souls as well as the Word of God. Jesus defeated Satan during His temptation in the wilderness by saying, “It is written and then quoting from God’s Holy Word. Bless you Heba.

  2. Emma De Campos

    Thank you so much for your vision and commitment. I am in the UK and have felt the weight of sadness that drug abuse amongst the young is causing in famillies lives. I have prayed and fasted and God led me to your site. I really want to do something in my town and will be participating in April. God bless you, Emma

  3. I just heard of this event for the first time today. Praise God for all who pray for this. My 23 year grandson was so addicted he was living on the streets just days away from death. We prayed to God for 5 years for his healing. He was in teen challenge for awhile but walked out.
    Finally 7 months ago, after 5 years of praying and begging him he entered a recovery program and is still there now doing wonderful. I know only by the will of God he was saved from death. I thank God every night that he took him there and continues to be there. God is
    our only hope for these men and women that are addicted, only God can help. Don’t pray for one night or one week put that in your daily prayers until this problem is no more. Praise God for every person that recovers from this terrible addiction.

    • Dear Julie:

      Thank you for taking the time to share your praise report concerning your grandson. May the Lord not only totally deliver him from his addictions, but use his testimony to bring hope and deliverance to many others who are also struggling with life-controlling substances. I agree that we need to pray against this horrible scourge on a daily basis. Our yearly event is not just a weekend of prayer but an reminder of the evil and devastation of addiction. Please share a link to our web site to those on your email list and have your church join us in prayer during the “Just Pray NO!” weekend.

      Blessings in Messiah Jesus, Steven L. Sherman, Founder JPN

  4. Amen this is an amazing and I will be praying

  5. Thank you for addressing the importance of prayer in recovery without it there would be no lives saved from the dis-ease.

  6. Please intercede on my son’s behalf of heroin addiction also on mine , As I’ve been a long time addict. GOD has abundant Grace to pull us from our terrible lifestyle immediately as he did it for me once with no withdrawal what do ever only I was stupid and fell back to the world,GOD FATHER THROUGH YOUR SON JESUS CHRIST help all of ius that ask and that have a love one ask for us,AMEN

    • Dear Heavenly Father and Almighty God,

      Nothing is too difficult for you! You are the omnipotent, all loving God of Creation. In faith, by the blood of the Lamb and in the mighty name of Messiah Jesus I intercede on behalf of Teresa Lake and her son that you will pour out your Spirit in power upon them; for it is the Spirit that breaks the yoke of bondage. I trust that dear Abba, You will heal, deliver and set them free so that they will be a testimony to your grace and mercy. Thank YOU dear God. We give You all the glory, honor and praise that is due your Holy Name. AMEN

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