Prayer-Walkers 'Build the Walls' at Auburn Adventist Academy
Dorena Roberts remembers ignoring God’s shoving to start prayer-walking because she viewed herself as more of a helper and not a leader.
As a mother, pastor’s wife and nurse, Roberts felt impressed at least two times in the last few years to walk seven times around the campus of Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA) to pray for the school. She shared the idea with close friends and hoped they would provide leadership. The plans never materialized.
She went to a Mates ’n’ Ministry retreat earlier this year where she received a copy of Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker. “I felt like God was taking me and shaking me and saying, ‘Walk around the campus,’” Roberts says as she reflected on this popular Christian book on prayer. Finally, Roberts agreed to partner with God to lead this prayer activity.
“My mom and I decided to time how long it would take to walk around the campus,” Roberts explains. “If you walk the inner campus, it takes seven minutes. If you walk the outer campus, it wasn’t a seven number. I felt we should walk inside to build the walls up.”
The prayer-walking plan began immerging: pray seven weeks at 7 o’clock for seven things. With each lap, prayer-walkers would pray for seven categories: students and alumni; faculty, staff and families; the spiritual atmosphere of the campus; the school facility structure; international students; school and family finances; and customer service.
Prayer-walk participants ranged from three to 15 people, including faculty, church members, parents and alumni. As the group walked for 49 minutes both morning and evening, they would meet students and faculty along the way. “We couldn’t walk past without praying for them,” Roberts says. “We stopped to pray with them and let them know why we were there.”
While the initial seven weeks of prayer walking have concluded, the idea has not. The Family Weekend program in November invited parents to join in prayer-walking. Church community members are continuing to carve out time to prayer-walk around the campus in small and large groups. “It makes me feel connected and that I am helping the school,” says Cheryl Burke, a prayer-walker who continues to invite friends to participate.
The prayer time was advertised as rain or shine. “It would start raining or drizzling right after the prayer time but not during the prayer walk,” says Yamileth Klingstrand, AAA staff member and prayer-walker.
Roberts feels like this prayer-walking experience has “absolutely” changed her prayer life: “I’m a multitasker. I couldn’t just sit in the gazebo and pray without getting distracted. Prayer-walking showed me that I need structure in my prayer life.”