SPRINGFIELD, Ky. (KT) – For the past three weeks, churches in the Central Association of Kentucky Baptists – and other faith-based groups – have joined and began spreading prayer one foot at a time.
Concentrated prayer walks have taken place in different areas of Washington County, said Jay Hatfield, the associational mission strategist of the Central Association. They started in Springfield and are dividing the county up as they walk and pray together. They have two more areas to cover, he said.
The participation has been better than expected and so has the response, Hatfield said.
“People were receptive,” he said. “Everybody was very open to it. It’s been surprising, especially in this time right now with COVID-19, it has amazed me. People want to get out, they want to see other faces and they want to do something positive.”
Hatfield said everybody wears a mask and they divide into smaller teams to make sure there’s proper social distancing. But both the participants and those they have come in contact with while walking and praying have been good.
“One thing we were talking about when discussing this idea is that with everything going on in the country focused on demonstrations and violence, we needed to do something real positive,” he said. “The impact on the community has been great. Maybe we can set a trend.”
Hatfield, the pastor of Willisburg Baptist Church, said a few members of his church have been involved “although not as many as I’d like to have out here.” However, anywhere between 60 and 80 have shown up to do the prayer walking. When they are praying over a more rural area, they do it by car, he said. However, when they see somebody outside, they try to stop and talk.
It can even lead to gospel conversations, Hatfield said, which is the biggest bonus of all.
“We all want to see the same thing; we all want to see people come to Christ and experience the Lord in a good way,” he said.
Hatfield, who has been in the area for 26 years, said it’s proven that prayer works. He remembers doing a similar prayer walk for a street in Springfield that was known to be heavily involved with drugs. Now that area is totally changed and has been “revived and refreshed,” he said.
The groups are finding that people are welcoming to prayer. Hatfield said they came across an outside baby shower and asked if they could pray for the baby that was coming. The group told them they would appreciate it if they did.
“We keep our distance and don’t push ourselves on anybody,” Hatfield said. “But we will ask them if there is anything we can pray for them about. We haven’t found hardly any resistance.”
Hatfield said the ministerial association in the county works well together and has good rapport with each other. They have worked together in several situations like counseling at a school following a death.
New Hope Baptist Church Pastor Tobe Yankey is president of the ministerial association. The theme of the prayer walk was 2 Chronicles 7:14, Hatfield said.
“Prayer is how we make a difference,” he said. “I think that’s the key, I really do.”