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Nik Wallenda Prays Unceasingly While Crossing Grand Canyon; Joel Osteen Offers Spiritual Support (Full Video)

( [email protected] ) Jun 24, 2013 09:07 AM EDT
Nik Wallenda made history on Sunday when he successfully crossed over the Grand Canyon  1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River. Pastor Joel Osteen prayed with the family before Nik Wallenda began his walk.
Pastor Joel Osteen (L) leads a prayer with Nik Wallenda (second from L), his wife Erendira, daughter Evita, and son Yanni before Nik began his walk.

Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda made history on Sunday, June 23, when he successfully crossed over the Grand Canyon on a 2-inch-think steel cable set 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River.

The Wallenda family prayed with Pastor Joel Osteen before Nik Wallenda began his walk.

As soon as he stepped out, Nik gave glory to God, "Praise God, this is awesome."

The actual walk took 22 minutes and 54 seconds, he jogged and hopped the last few steps. The wind was stronger than Wallenda expected, but as his father kept reminding him, he'd trained for worse.

Nik did not wear a harness and had to crouch twice as 30 mph winds blew around him and caused the rope to sway. Throughout the walk, he could be heard murmuring prayers.

"Thank you Jesus, for this beautiful view. ... Praise you, Jesus. Oh, I love you. Thank you, Jesus. ... Lord, help this cable calm down. ... Yes, Jesus. Oh, you're my savior.... God, you're so good. Thank you for this opportunity, Lord. ... Lord, help me to relax, Father." he prayed as he walked.

Nik repeatedly asked the Lord to keep the cable he was walking calm.

"Thank you Lord. Thank you for calming that cable, God," he said about 13 minutes into the walk.

Wallenda’s faith plays a very important part in his career on the high wire. In an essay posted this year to Guideposts, an online Christian news site, he writes that he wants to honor his family’s "gift," which he believes was given to them by God.

"I didn’t know why God had given us this gift, but I knew in my heart that the only way to honor it was to use it. Even if it was difficult, even if it was dangerous. Danger was real, but fear was a choice. I would choose faith instead – after all, that was a part of my family legacy too. Everything we did was for the glory of God," he writes.

The 34-year-old Florida resident said about the tightrope walk, "It was way more windy, and it took every bit of me to stay focused the entire time."

"I was fatigued until I was three-quarters of the way across, and then it was all adrenaline," he said.

Nik Wallenda grew up performing with his family and has dreamed of crossing the Grand Canyon since he was a teenager.

"My family has done this for seven generations and 200 years, and I'm carrying on a legacy. This is something I've done since I was 2 years old, and it truly is my passion." he said.

Wallenda couldn't get permission from the U.S. government to traverse the Grand Canyon proper -- which spans anywhere from 10 to 18 miles. So he walked above a stretch of the Little Colorado River Gorge on Navajo Nation land.

Wallenda told reporters after the walk that he hoped his next stunt would be a tightrope walk between the Empire State building and the Chrysler building in New York.