By Kevin Kindelin
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Luke 10:1-2 (ESV)
And so we were sent out on September 27th by Pastor Tom and Pastor Warren into the streets of the community on Immanuel’s first Prayer Walk. Along six appointed routes we walked and prayed, each group stopping at seven designated posts along the way to pray as a group. A leader (many times a child) recited the prayer. Many thanks to Marcia Mathes for giving her time and talent in writing these prayers.
When I first learned of this initiative a few months ago, I was, let’s say…curious. Sure, I can march downtown, in a manner of speaking, and proclaim my beliefs, but how would the church and community actually benefit from this? For what purpose was I doing this, to make a show or to plant a seed?
The day dawned overcast, and it stayed that way all morning and into our walk in the early afternoon. As we gathered in Fellowship Hall and broke off into groups, the energy and enthusiasm I felt was exhilarating. Although the weather wasn’t sunny, the peace and joy we received by the Holy Spirit more than brightened the day. Many who couldn’t participate in the walk gathered at Immanuel and prayed in earnest. I’m pretty certain Jesus didn’t send anybody to go out and play golf, but never the less, 40 Immanuel members, golfing at the Cary Country Club joined in our focused efforts by stopping and praying at every hole. All told, we had over 100 members praying with intentional focus for our church and Stronger Together: Building a Community in Christ campaign. Many who were unable to attend due to sickness or other obligations also prayed with us from afar.
I was pleased to find genuine enthusiasm and camaraderie as we walked along our route. We encountered a couple who were house hunting and prayed for them. We came upon a man in downtown Palatine and asked if he wanted us to pray about anything for him. He couldn’t think of anything in particular, but did proclaim, “God is good!” That was an inspiring moment! Another group reported back that some children spontaneously sang “Jesus loves me, this I know” while walking and then finishing the Prayer Walk reciting the Lord’s Prayer, sharing a group hug, and shouting “Hallelujah!”
As we move forward in our Stronger Together campaign, Prayer Director and Prayer Walk coordinator Bill Harder pointed out that we come to the Lord to pray for his blessing, favor and direction as we launch this campaign to take the Gospel story out into our community to let all our neighbors know the good news, especially our youth and young adults.
My “curiosity” was more than satisfied by the blessings of joy, peace, and inspiration I felt on that day. I realized that my skepticism had been replaced with an open and willing heart, allowing Him to work within me. I also saw Him working in and through all of us as I witnessed people outside of our church, but within our community being touched by what we were doing. We may have been sent out to work the Harvest, but I also saw a few seeds being planted.