Breakthrough

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God Answers Prayers

Many people doubt the power of prayer. Does God really answer prayer? After seeing the film, Breakthrough, you’ll be inspired to see prayer as not only a beacon of hope, but a necessity for living in faith.

John Smith, a 14-year-old known for his skills on the basketball court, was hanging out with his friends on an ordinary day. While goofing around on a frozen lake, he falls through the thin ice. Rescue teams come to search for him. An atheist on the team hears a voice telling him to turn around. He follows the leading of the voice and unexpectantly finds John. At this point, John had been in the water for 15 minutes and it would be another 45 minutes until his heart starts beating again. In all, he was dead for about an hour.

Power of Prayer
Chrissy Metz (Joyce Smith) and Marcel Ruiz (John Smith, in bed) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BREAKTHROUGH. Photo Credit: Allen Fraser.
Chrissy Metz (Joyce Smith) and Marcel Ruiz (John Smith, in bed) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BREAKTHROUGH. Photo Credit: Allen Fraser.

At the hospital, after the doctors had done everything within their power to save him, John’s mom came in to his room and prayed. As John personally describes the moment, “My mom came in and prayed and instantly, I had a pulse.”

Though he was alive, he was weak. No one had ever seen or experienced anything like this before, so the medical team didn’t know what was going to happen. That’s when the faith of the community stepped in through unimaginable ways. Joyce Smith, John’s mom, describes the prayerful community, “Our church and our friends were phenomenal. There were probably twenty people that had already started gathering. By that evening there was probably close to 75 to 100 people. And they were overflowing the waiting room, out into the hallway.” The miracle isn’t just in the unbelievable revival of John, the miracle is in the power of prayer. The power of community is strong. Our world needs to be reminded of this power and strength over and over again. The power comes from people gathering together and believing that God listens to and answers prayers.

Power of Women

One incredible aspect of this story is the strength of women. On the screen, we see an incredible actress who has accomplished a lot in her career and inspired millions. Chrissy Metz (This is Us) plays Joyce Smith, who’s faith is unwavering. When everyone else has given up, even her husband, Joyce holds on to the truth she knows – God is savior and He performs miracles. “When Joyce finally gives that complete surrender to God and said, ‘You have to take this.’ There’s no question that something miraculous happened,” says Chrissy Metz who can’t believe she has an opportunity to tell such an incredible story. “It’s hard to believe. I’m a part of the story – telling the story and it’s hard for me to believe.”

John and Joyce Smith
John and Joyce Smith

Naturally, Joyce is a powerhouse. She knew her adopted son and believed in the might of her Savior. Without a doubt, she knows her son is a fighter and as she stands firm in her faith, she inspires everyone around him to fight too. Her steadfast faith encourages the community to rally together in prayer. Her firm faith moves the doctor to work harder to save her son, even when history, medicine and science provide no logic for John’s survival. Joyce describes this unfaltering faith, “So far in my life, God has always been and done what He said He could do, and so I just started praying.”

There’s another strong female character in this film who’s easy to overlook. Roxann Dawson, the incredibly talented and gifted director has drive and passion like no other. Roxann describes her feature film directing debut by saying, “It’s not just about one miracle. It’s about a series of miracles. Those miracles happened to John, to Joyce and that family. But then, like a ripple in a lake, those miracles just keep moving out. The circle keeps getting wider.”

Power of Sharing
L-R: Josh Lucas (Brian Smith), Chrissy Metz (Joyce Smith), and Marcel Ruiz (John Smith) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BREAKTHROUGH. Photo Credit: Allen Fraser.
L-R: Josh Lucas (Brian Smith), Chrissy Metz (Joyce Smith), and Marcel Ruiz (John Smith) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BREAKTHROUGH. Photo Credit: Allen Fraser.

You can’t get through a tragedy, nor a recovery like John’s alone. God brings people together in amazing ways. He’s intentional with every step as He pulls people closer to Him through prayer. It wasn’t just Joyce’s prayer – it was the prayer of the community.

When you feel like your prayer is unheard or unanswered, when you don’t have the words or experience to pray, know that God is leading you, showing you where to go, what to do. He’s never let you down and He never will. If he can bring a boy back to life and a community together, He can respond to your prayer. Give Him the opportunity to do so.

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