Christian rock group Bread of Stone has urged Christians to unite in praying for Casting Crowns frontman Mark Hall, who recently announced that he will undergo surgery following a cancer diagnosis.
In a YouTube video posted on their Facebook page, two members of the four-person band, Ben and Bill Kristijanto, said that the news of Mark's illness touched their hearts, as they underwent a similar experience a decade ago with their mother.
"For us, there were a lot of life-changing moments during the whole process not only for her but for us as part of the family. I know that support is a big thing because we believed in healing and we are so thankful that the Lord was able to heal her and that we were able to be a part of that, and of her journey," the brothers recalled.
To show their support for their mother, the brothers decided to join her in eating a "special diet" so she wouldn't feel alone throughout the disease process.
"And I think that brought joy to her. When she was happy, we were happy as well. We knew we were fighting this together, and we all felt that unity and support," they said.
"And so, we wanted to let Mark and his family know that we are praying for them, and we are asking those watching this video to keep them in your prayers as they go through this part of their life and their journey and walk with the Lord."
The end of the video reads, "Mark Hall and family-you are not alone," along with a reference to the Biblical passage Matthew 18:20, which reads, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."
Last week, Hall posted a sobering message on Facebook announcing that doctors will perform surgery on him after discovering a malignant mass on his kidney. The "Who Am I" singer asked his fans to pray for healing and for peace for his family, and signed the note with the words "Praising Him in This Storm," a reference to one of Casting Crowns' songs, "Praise You in This Storm," which includes the lyrics, "Every tear I've cried/ You hold in your hands/ You never left my side/ And though my heart is torn/ I will praise you in this storm."
Using the hashtag #prayingforMark, thousands of believers and other artists, including worship leader Chris Tomlin, Michael W. Smith and the rock group Kutless, have since encouraged the Christian community to unite in prayer for Hall.
"When Satan tells you [that] you have a problem, he's quick to tell you you're the only one with that problem," Hall said while sharing his testimony several years ago. "I remember struggling with God, asking Him, 'God, what's the deal?'
"God taught me a lesson that day, and he continues to teach me this lesson-and I think it's the reason there even is a Casting Crowns," Hall recalled. "He said to me, 'Mark, I don't need you, I want you. Do you think that all of these fears and limitations and all of these things that make you feel so small are worrying me? Mark, I am gonna do something in the world-I just wanna know if you wanna come.'"
Today, the seven-member group, entirely comprised of youth pastors, is one of the most well-loved Christian worship bands of all time, with chart-topping hits including Who Am I," "Praise You In This Storm," and "East to West." Casting Crowns has won both Dove and Grammy Awards, and is the second fastest Christian band in history to have their first two albums certified platinum.