STOVER: Prayer walks and cross changing Dallas County

Published 9:09 pm Thursday, August 3, 2017

By LARRY P. STOVER | Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene

Students are heading back to school. Families are purchasing classroom supplies from area merchants. Mixed emotions fill the air as some parents send their children off to school for the first time while others slip into a routine followed for many years.

Beginning some 10 years ago, a tradition continues throughout Dallas County. “Prayer Walks” have become a highlight for many churches as a new school year begins.

Churches across America have been bathing their schools in prayer for decades as their students have entered a new academic year. The movement began with a single youth group praying for their own school. It swelled into a campaign centered on the beginning of a new school year. Before this month is over millions of students and their families will gather at their local schools, joining forces with Christians across the nation to lift up their schools in prayer.

Many churches in Dallas County are joining together Sunday at 5 p.m. to hold “Prayer Walks” at county and city schools. This campaign, which began with the northern end of the county, is spreading across the area.

Some area churches are canceling their regular evening activities tonight to make this the focus of the evening. Others are gathering together following the “Prayer Walks’” for a time of sharing and fellowship.

Schools to date that are already part of this campaign include Dallas County High School, Martin Middle School, Valley Grande Elementary, J. E. Terry Elementary, Meadowview Christian, Morgan Academy and Southside High School. The list keeps growing.

Please check with your pastors and youth leaders about activities at schools where your students attend. If you can’t find an organized effort at your school, then take it upon yourself to go and walk around the buildings asking for God’s favor and blessing on this new school year.

Prayer is an amazing and powerful experience. It will not only energize those who take part but it will also send a message to a Holy God that as Christians we desire the presence and anointing of God to bless our schools, staff, and students.

On another note, one of the great spiritual leaders of our community is carry a cross on our behalf. Pastor Daniel Martin has been calling the Christians and churches of Dallas County to prayer for decades. He is in the process of walking the streets of Selma, carrying a cross, calling out to God to bring a revival to the city. As Pastor Martin has said, “We are in a battle for the souls of Selma.”

There are many passages of scripture that drive the heart of this campaign. One is found in Ephesians 6:10-12, which reads, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

The battle for Selma is serious business for a large number of pastors and Christians who see a spiritual revival as foundational to the future of the city. We know that God is superior to anyone or anything that is spiritually oppressing our community. When we stand up against evil in the name of Jesus Christ, God will back us up with all the resources of heaven.

There has been a lot of positive response. While many just honk their horn, others are giving Pastor Daniel something to drink, while others are spending time with him walking and praying for the city.

Jim Cymbala in his book, “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire,” gives a dynamic insight for anyone wanting to see an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their city, schools, church, or personal life. He said, “I’ve discovered an astonishing truth: God is attracted to weakness. He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him.”

We are not in this alone. God knows our weaknesses. He sees our desperation. All the resources of heaven are available to those who will go boldly and humbly to the “Throne of Grace” knowing that this battle is bigger than anything we have ever faced. Like many others, I am praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our communities and in our schools.

“Prayer Walks and a Cross” are making Dallas County “Simply Beautiful.”