I began my run this morning just like every other day this week… iphone in hand streaming music into my ears, my “Runtracker” app on, ready to watch another gorgeous sunrise. It was a little warmer than the other days this week and definitely more humid, but off I went, out of my apartment complex on my “normal” route.
About a half mile into my normal route I come upon Sweet Home High School (SHHS). Generally, this is just another landmark on my journey, but today, my heart and mind went back to a conversation I had with a Sweet Home High student just last night. She informed me that another student had tragically died only days before beginning his senior year. As I had looked through the memorial page someone had set up on Facebook for this student, “listening” to students, friends, and family pour out their grief of this friend, brother, son, student… I was hit in the gut with the extreme hopelessness in our world.
So, today, as I crossed the street and began running alongside SHHS, I turned off my music, put my headphones in my pocket, and simply began to pray.
I prayed for our First Trinity students who knew Austin.
I prayed for the teachers of Sweet Home. Being a teacher’s kid I know how crazy starting a school year is in general, let alone with a tragedy like this.
I prayed for Austin’s family.
I prayed for all the students who may be blaming themselves for this tragedy, asking the question “What could I have done?” I prayed that Satan would back off and the God would remove any guilt they may be experiencing, replacing it with truth, The Truth.
I prayed for everyone that knew Austin; that they’d truly be able to grieve. Loss is hard no matter what. But there’s just something more intense about losing someone so young.
I prayed for people to surround the grieving and point them to the hope in Jesus.
I prayed that our FT students would be able to be a light to their friends as they begin school on Wednesday.
I prayed… and as I passed SHHS and went farther on in my route, I kept praying.
I prayed for all high school students in the area as they start school this week.
I prayed for hope in a world that seems so hopeless at time.
I prayed for all our 9th grade students beginning a new phase of their lives… and for our freshmen in college as they, too, begin anew.
Suddenly, my heart grew excited and hopeful as God placed an opportunity before me. For the last mile of my run today, God and I discussed some details of how this kind of thing, running and praying, could be a part of my ministry. Here’s the plan we ended up with by the time I got home:
Later today, when I go into work, I will make a list of all the high schools where First Trinity students attend. Then, each week I will pick one a high school to focus on in prayer that week. At least one day of that week I will drive to that area and run near the school as the students are either beginning or ending their school day. My purpose… pray and run. It’s so simple, but I’m so excited about it!!! I’m excited to be able to pray for my high school students, their friends, their teachers, their school in general and to be “on site” in a way while doing it. I’m excited to think about asking them a couple days before my run if there are certain things I pray about while I run, specific needs in their lives or that they see in their school. I’m excited to see what God has planned as begin running with purpose… I’m sure He’ll show up and I can’t wait to see what happens when He does!
(The sun rising over Sweet Home High.)