By Mindy Ragan Wood
A local church is hitting the streets, not with tracts or donation jars, but with prayer.
Resurrection Lutheran Church, of Yukon, has a team of parishioners who walk throughout the city and Mustang and pray for businesses, schools and organizations they see in their path.
Pastor Mark Borseth is on a sabbatical that began Memorial Day weekend and will end Labor Day weekend. As a show of solidarity his church is participating in one aspect of its pastor’s retreat which focuses on prayer. Using social media, email and walking events the church is celebrating 100 days of prayer and 100 miles of “walking” prayer.
“We pray every morning. We have a Facebook page and we keep prayer request boxes at places like Manna Pantry, so if anyone has individual prayer requests, we read them and pray over them,” Lori Barthlemes, children, family and youth pastor at Resurrection Lutheran said. “Tuesday and Saturday we’re out walking in the community. Some people are walking on their own. Some walk Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. and some on Saturday mornings at 8:45.”
Prayers are not rehearsed but said from each person’s own inner thoughts. A map of where the group will be walking is posted to the church’s Facebook page, but prayer requests are posted daily to the page regardless of the walking schedule and prayer requests are also emailed daily.
Obviously, prayer has a special emphasis at Resurrection Lutheran. A group of women sew prayer quilts with each square containing string that is to be tied. As the church members pray over the person who will receive the quilt they tie the knots on each quilt square.
“We had a teacher whose baby was born premature,” Barthlemes recalled. “We were praying for healing, comfort, for the doctors to know what to do. Then we presented the family with a quilt.”
Church administrator Jenifer Belleau said their pastor has always encouraged prayer.
“That’s his focus, prayer,” she said.
Prayer is a theme in Pastor Borseth’s sabbatical as he studies the Moravians, a revival movement of the church in the early 1700s. He is also studying Hans Nielsen Hauge who walked around Norway to evangelize throughout the country during the late 1700s.
Borseth invited his church to take on a challenge in his absence to pray 100 days and walk 100 miles while praying.
“This (sabbatical) is not meant to be a time the church just tries to survive while the pastor is gone. It can be a time when lay leadership is empowered and equipped to make the ministry of RLC stronger than it is when it’s just dependent on the pastor. Please participate and pray that this summer would be a year of more than maintenance at RLC, but that it would be a summer of growth,” he wrote.
The church accepted the prayer challenge and added to it. This year it will offer free school supplies and backpacks out of the portion of the Lilly Grant, which funded the sabbatical.
“We will use $500 of that grant to purchase backpacks and supplies. We will take help from the community. We need basic school supplies like paper, crayons, pencils,” Barthlemes said. “We will have a back -to-school giveaway party at Chisholm Trail Park where we’ve rented the pavilion. It’s hard to get people to come to the church, so we wanted a larger and more neutral location.”
The giveaway will be from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, August 5. Keeping up the momentum of community engagement, the church will also gather water, Gatorade and snacks to giveaway to first responders and parks employees on Labor Day weekend as they did last year.
The church performs various fundraising for charities including Salvation Army Angel Tree, Manna Pantry food drives, Compassionate Hands, and even keeps groceries on hand for needy families.
“If there’s a cause, our congregation steps up,” Belleau said.
To follow the Facebook page prayer request, visit 100 Miles Connecting Upward, Inward, and Outward or email firstname.lastname@example.org