NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- The King of the Wire puts his faith in the King of Kings.
Just before Nik Wallenda steps onto the wire Friday night in an attempt to become the first person to walk a tightrope across the mouth of the Horseshoe Falls, he'll form a circle with a dozen close friends and members of his close-knit Christian family to pray.
The cross Wallenda, 33, wears around his neck every time he wirewalks isn't just a fashion statement, it's a message about the religious beliefs the American performer holds close to his heart.
"I grew up in a born-again Christian family. A Bible-believing, God-fearing family. That's the way I was raised, and I find COMFORT and PEACE in that," he said.
Wallenda grew up in Florida and is a seventh-generation circus performer.
His parents, Terry Troffer and Delilah Wallenda, have worked in the business all their lives, so it's not surprising that their son Nik first stepped on a tightrope at age two.
He first set eyes on Niagara Falls at six years old and made crossing the cataracts on a tightrope his lifelong dream.
At just after 10 p.m. Friday, that dream should become a reality.
But Wallenda believes it never would have happened if not for his faith.
"It's the most important part of my life," he said. "I believe in a thing called unmerited favour. It's undeserved, but God's involvement in my life has gotten me to where I am in my career."
Wallenda was first given permission to do the walk from American officials on June 21, 2011. But two days later, the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) voted to maintain it's century-old anti-stunting rules.
The aerialist didn't back down.
He continued to lobby the NPC to allow the walk for months before they finally changed course and gave the green light on Feb. 15.
Wallenda believes there was a higher power in his corner -- even higher than Ontario Minister of Tourism Michael Chan, who convinced the NPC to take another look at the proposal after they initially turned it down.
"God's hand is involved in every step of my life," Wallenda said. "I believe doors were opened for me that weren't opened for others and doors that were slammed were reopened."
From the point the NPC gave the OK for the walk in February until now, there has been a whirlwind of planning and organizing for the event.
There have been bumps along the way -- most notably when American broadcaster ABC told Wallenda the only way they would show the walk on television is if he agreed to wear a harness -- but he says it's his faith that helps keep him from losing his cool.
"I pray and I talk to God a lot and I find PEACE in that. That's how I can remain calm when people would think I could go nuts during this whole process," he said. "That's why I try to live an upright life and I try to be an example to everybody."
And now, with the planning and setup all in the rearview mirror, Wallenda says Friday will mostly be spent taking it easy.
"I'll have to go on Good Morning America and then I'll take four or five hours off and just relax," he said.
Wallenda is planning to wear a water-resistant tracksuit for the walk and on his feet will be tight leather shoes handmade by his mother. He said he won't eat anything in the eight-or-so hours before he walks.
And no, he won't have to walk with his passport.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says,~~~~Jesus Christ"