I was thrilled yesterday (Thursday) to be invited back to the Dayton Christian Middle School for chapel. I had opportunity to speak to the students about my A.T. hike during chapel on the morning of January 16th and to follow up in the afternoon with some 5th graders in Mr. Holliday’s classroom. I had thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and was impressed with their interest in my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. The principal communicated with me earlier this week that they had a presentation for me. I have to admit that I was anticipating a financial contribution to my hike but I was humbled and surprised at the presentation. There was a financial gift… but it was not what I expected. I was thinking of a contribution of around $150-200 – they gave me a check for $411!! I was taken aback at their generosity and support. But what made the gift even more special was the list that was given to me. It was a calendar that had been circulated among the students. One student from either the 5th or 6th grade and another student from either the 7th or 8th grade signed up on the calendar to pray for me every day during my journey!
I totally believe in prayer although I don’t fully understand it. Sharing requests and burdens and hopes and joys with the Omnipotent, Omnipresent God seems on one hand to be silly since He knows all things and is aware of my words before I even speak them. But on the other hand He desires to commune with us on a personal level and invites me to talk with Him anytime, anyplace, for any reason. I also know that there is an incredible power in prayer and especially in the prayers of children. Their faith is pure and great. Their hearts are expressed in genuine trust and confidence in God. The financial gift is so appreciated but the reality that every day two students from Dayton Christian Middle School will be praying for me touches the strings of my spirit and so encourages my heart. In my response of thanks to the students, I really encouraged them not to forget their day to pray – and if is raining on their day, to be sure to pray especially hard for the wet thru-hiker.
I am going to develop a prayer card with some general requests, some facts about the AT, and my picture so that the students will have a reminder when it gets to be their day. What a thoughtful idea generated by these great students. I love the fact that they will be joining me on my hike through prayer.