by Brett Barry
We’d like to express a deep “Thank you!” for participating in the seven days of prayer and fasting, and the seven mile prayer walk The Lord called Cornerstone to a few weeks ago (whether you were actually walking or prayerfully supporting from elsewhere)
As you know, the key to advancement (growth), whether individually or corporately, is setting our hearts and minds toward pleasing God, listening carefully, and then, by the power of His Spirit in us, obeying explicitly.
So whatever you fasted, and however you prayed, we felt it, especially during the walk. It was an incredibly rich time!
Many have asked how the walk went, and what The Lord spoke, so I'll commit this post to providing an update.
Each person who participated in the walk had an awesome encounter and testimony, but for the sake of time (and direct access to the info :), I asked Erin to share a little of what the Lord gave her.
First, if you missed what was going on, the seven day fast, concluding with the seven mile silent prayer walk, was for both personal and corporate benefit: a time of consecration to prayerfully seek The Lord for insight into things hidden, next steps for our transition, for God’s timing in that transition to be established (that the enemy might not cut any aspect short), and for the new territory we will occupy.
So we gathered in the parking lot, outlined our mission, prayed together and set out on our journey.
I must admit, that when Brett and the staff first mentioned fasting seven days, followed by walking around the perimeter of the mall area seven times, though I understood the BIblical significance, I worried about the distance. Seven miles? I asked Brett, “Couldn’t we just accomplish the task going around once?!” He thoughtfully replied, “Well, Honey, yes, we could...if The Lord had said to go once. But He said ‘Seven, seven: Seven days of fasting and seven times around the mall and Cornerstone/Ollies - Pastor Paul and others also sensed it was The Lord’s leading. So...’”
So, seven it was.
As we began the walk, I realized that the length was important for several reasons.
First, it meant I had to go beyond what I thought I could accomplish in my own strength. It was a stretch for me to walk that many times. And since it was a silent prayer walk, I also had to discipline myself to not talk! Then, in not talking, I had to take captive my thoughts to focus on prayer and listening for the Spirit’s leading. And, especially during the first three or four laps, I had to resist thinking about the distance and how long it would take.
On the first lap, The Lord put on my heart to choose a prayer topic for each time around, so with each lap I found a stone to represent each prayer topic and placed it at the back of the Cornerstone building.
The first time around I felt I needed to repent and get my heart right before the Lord. I found a dark colored stone to represent the sin Jesus would be cleansing.
Then, once my heart was clean I felt the next round should be totally focused on worshiping and praising the Lord. I marked that round with a beautiful white stone.
After the second lap, we gathered to pray as a team and Brett shared how Bishop Ekejiuba had hugged his neck several times, thanking him for his prayers and those of the church, and stating that, because the spiritual and physical oppression in Nigeria is so great at times it can be difficult to even pray; so he was so grateful for Cornerstone’s faithfulness to lift him and his people up in prayer. He said it often carries him - literally. In light of that, Brett felt we should dedicate the third round to praying for Bishop Ekejiuba and Nigeria’s deliverance.
So the third round I found a stone that was full of marks and breaks. I spent that round praying for the Nigerian church and the other Christians around the world who were suffering. My heart broke especially for the church in China.
The fourth round I prayed for Cornerstone, specifically for our destiny as a body, for God to direct us in this coming season. I found a large, round, flat rock to symbolize our expanding territory of influence in the Spirit.
The fifth round I felt like the Lord said, rest and grace! So I just thanked God that He was on the throne and in control, that His grace was sufficient for all our needs and concerns. I found a unique rock that was half dark and half white. I felt like it symbolized the Lord’s covering over our mistakes, worries and cares. Sometimes I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. But the Lord reminded me that even when I sleep, I can rest because He keeps the world turning! (Of course, He keeps it turning all the time, but it is easy for me to forget that! :)
We gathered again for prayer right before beginning the sixth mile. The team got a word to pray against the spirit of Islam. Interestingly, I found an orange rock for that round. Often in my dreams, if they include a black snake, I know it is a demonic presence. But when the presence is more a principality, I will dream of an orange snake. The Islamic spirit is a very strong spirit, but the power of God is stronger! Enough to crush any opposing presence.
We gathered a final time before the last mile. I felt the victory of the walk at that point and felt that for the final round I should focus on rejoicing and the wonderful future we have in Christ - the fact that we will live forever, WITH God! So instead of a rock, I chose a green leaf to symbolize life!
I found a beautiful oak leaf, but somehow dropped it along the way. So, looking for another, I found a maple leaf, which has special significance for me since the maple leaf is Canada’s national logo (for those who don’t know, I’m from Canada), and the image of a maple leaf was central to the first prophetic word given to me upon coming to the states - through a church elder who didn’t know me.
All in all, the seven day fast helped clear my mind and heart, and the seven mile walk sealed the deal by bringing a renewed sense of spiritual insight, encouragement, hope and determination. The time actually went by quickly, and I’m grateful to report that my legs and feet survived the many extra steps. I’m so glad we did it!
- As we began, the weather was hot and sunny, with the forecast calling for thunder and rain from 2-5 (right during the walk). We prayed for a cloud covering and no rain. About 40 minutes into the walk, The Lord brought a high cloud covering, and, for the duration, He held back the rain. Thank You, Jesus!
- After the third lap, the employees at Home Depot noticed something was up. So on lap four they asked Chris, Lexi and Chad what we were doing, who, of course, were delighted to share. They got to share the gospel and pray with a couple people - God was moving.
- On lap five, Pastor Paul and Cheryl stopped by to lend encouragement and support.
- We began our walk by my Jeep that was parked in front of Cornerstone and traveled along the outside of Boscov’s to circle the mall, Home Depot and Ollie’s seven times in a counterclockwise direction.
During the final lap, both Chad and Chris reminded me that we needed to be sure to go around the back side of Ollie's one last time, since we didn’t include that part when we set out due to starting in front of the building.
As we completed our last lap, it hit me that by inadvertently starting out in the front parking lot and then circling Ollie's on the last lap and coming back to the Jeep, we had completed a heart pattern. Your commitment to fast and pray, and walk as directed, served to further reveal God’s heart to us and those we’ll each encounter throughout our journey.
Even now, I hear the Lord saying, “This is what your life journey is all about - getting My heart for both yourself and the many I want to love through you.”
There’s more, but we’ve gone long.
Wherever you’re at within your present journey, may it be inspired, directed and sustained by God’s presence.
May You know intimately His heart toward you and share it boldly and lovingly with those you meet along the way.
P.S. As we were completing the seventh mile, the thought occurred to suggest we take a victory lap!...but wisdom prevailed, so I kept that one to myself.