Wallendas pray with Joel Osteen before high wire Times Square stunt

ByDanny Clemens KABC logo
Monday, June 24, 2019

NEW YORK -- Before traversing Times Square on a tightrope, Nik and Lijana Wallenda got some advice from a familiar face: Houston pastor Joel Osteen.

The Lakewood Church pastor joined the Wallenda family just minutes before the stunt and led them in a short prayer.

"For Nik and Lijana and the dreams you put in their hearts -- the gifts and the talents. Lord, I just thank you tonight that you're watching over them and protecting them...that they'd be focused, Lord," Osteen said in part. "I thank you that your angels are watching after and protecting them."

"Let people watch and just be inspired that they can overcome challenges as well," Osteen added.

Host Michael Strahan said the Wallendas were listening to a playlist of contemporary Christian music as they walked 25 stories above Times Square.

During the stunt, Nik also prayed, offering his own wisdom as his sister began: "Don't listen to those lies in your head that are holding you back from greatness. Chase your dreams. You are made for so much more."

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Lijana Wallenda and Nik Wallenda walk a high wire over Times Square during the Highwire Live In Times Square With Nik Wallenda on June 23, 2019, in New York City.
Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Dick Clark Productions

"Thank you, Jesus. Glory to you, father God," Lijana later added. "Thank you for this ability. Thank you for your healing. Thank you for life."

The stakes on Sunday evening were high: the walk across Times Square was Nik and Lijana's first live performance since a 2017 training accident that injured Lijana and several other performers. She was severely injured after falling while rehearsing for an eight-person pyramid stunt to break a Guinness World Record.

It wasn't the first time Osteen offered his blessing ahead of a Wallenda stunt -- he led Nik Wallenda and his wife Erendira in prayer ahead of a June 2013 special on Discovery where Wallenda crossed the Grand Canyon on a tightrope.

Preacher Joel Osteen leads a prayer with Nik and Erendira Wallenda ahead of Nik's 2013 walk across the Grand Canyon for Discovery Channel's Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda.
Tiffany Brown/AP Images for Discovery Communications