Story behind “God Of This City”
This Irish Band, called Bluetree, got asked to go and be part of an event called Pattaya Praise. Pattaya is a seaside town/resort place, and physically, it looks to be like the darkest place you’ll ever go to. Spiritually, it is THE darkest place you have ever been to. You feel the evil. You feel the enemy all over that place. It’s a very small place. In that small area there are 30,000 prostitutes and that figure excludes kids and excludes anything that’s outside of the range of aged 18-30, and who are female. You probably hear of ladyboys and all those kinds of things? It’s got a ladyboy community and all this kind of stuff, and 90 or 95 percent of Thailand’s income comes from the sex industry.
Lead singer, Aaron Boyd continues, “Part of what we were asked to do was to go out and be part of an event which runs for four or five days. 24/7 worship and prayer and social action going on helping the people who clean the streets every morning. There was a bar called The Climax Bar – on a street that’s about 10 metres wide, it’s a kilometre long and it’s filled with everything you can physically imagine. And I promise you, as a red-blooded male, to keep your head in the right place you’ve got to look down at the ground and walk down that street and pray because it is just so in your face. People hit you with menus about everything, flashing lights, just everything you can imagine goes on in that place. You see kids as young as eight, nine, 10, just selling themselves, you know?! You see 60-year-old guys walking down the street with two 13 or 14-year-old girls. Forget about the Christian thing, you just get raging! You properly get raging when you see that happening, you know?!”
He pauses to compose himself and continues, “But we got the chance to play in this bar, a two-hour worship set in this bar. I don’t think the people in the bar spoke a word of English but we basically got to go in. The deal was that we play and we bring a following of people with us; so we’re there, set up, really good gear! Amazing drums, the biggest drum kit you’ve ever seen in your life. I walk in and my dream amp is sitting there! Walk in and Rick’s big Mesa Boogie stack sitting there! I was like, ‘Woah!’ So we all set up and there was like 20 Christians all standing in front of us, and the deal was we play, they buy lots of drinks, alright? I don’t think the place has ever sold so much Coke in its whole life in one night!”
He laughs and describes the scene, “So all the Christians are all sugared off their heads on Coke.that’s Coca-Cola by that way! The drink! And we got to play for two hours. And just the way the band set up, we like using loops, and at one point I just started singing out. I started singing “Greater Things”, something along those lines, almost prophesying over the city. And without going into the band dynamics, slowly this groove emerged from this thing. And long story short; we walked out of that Climax Bar with pretty much a nailed song, as strange as that sounds. Then we were on the way home. We were all. . .it was that tumbleweed silence, you know? It was like, ‘What actually just happened in that time?!’ It was one of the most powerful worship experiences we’ve ever had. I actually remember looking out, and you’re looking down a wee alleyway, into the street, and it was just 50 or 60 probably British tourists and they’re just sitting there listening going, ‘What is this all about?’ Coming from The Climax Bar which is pretty much a strip club. Just, here we are singing about Jesus in the middle of this. You’ve got a German guy who’s completely wrote off, with a prostitute on each arm and he is just like your Number One Fan! It was one of the most random experiences but it was a God thing, God was there.”
Father God, with the children in Svay Pak in my mind right now, how I pray that one day someone would sing this song in the language of Khmer in the midst of all these children who sing about Jesus during the day and also are sexually assaulted at night. Greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city. Father God, you are indeed the God of this city, the King of these people, the Lord of this nation, You Are!!
Father God, I remember SN and L whose faces are now deeply ingrained in my heart. You are the God of these two young girls, the King and the Lord of those I don’t know of their names, yet You know, You know them by name and by every single detail of who they are for You created them in Your image. Father God, I cry out to you to protect them. Hear my prayers and be their shield of protection in midst of danger and sorrow.
In Your Son’s precious name, I pray. Amen.