During 588-mile prayer journey, Blanco Association leader sees resilient churches

May 11th, 2020 / By: Grace Thornton / comments

During 588-mile prayer journey, Blanco Association leader sees resilient churches

Rafael Murillo, director of missions for Blanco Baptist Association, drove a two-day 588-mile circuit to visit and pray over each church in his association. Photos submitted

BEEVILLE, Texas — At first, Rafael Murillo thought he could do it all in one day. But as he stopped in parking lot after parking lot to pray for each church in his association, the 588 miles and hours of prayers stretched into a two-day journey.

And the farther he went, the better it got.

“What I experienced was the sweet Spirit of God providing the assurance that even though the doors of our places of worship are not open, God’s message is still being provided in different ways,” said Murillo, director of missions for Blanco Baptist Association.

Some churches in the association—which spans seven counties—are livestreaming services, and others are supporting their members through text messages and emails, he said.

“I also observed the Holy Spirit leading me to pray for homes near where our worship centers are located. Those homes had many cars in their driveways, perhaps family members keeping each other company,” Murillo said. “Those homes represent either people who are already church members or souls that need the gospel.”

Either way, they have needs, he said. “Maybe they are thinking and talking about the latest news on COVID-19, lost jobs, businesses closing, economic unreliability or what will happen if there is a spike in the virus. Many communities are experiencing feelings of fear and trepidation today more than ever.”

At a time like this, Murillo said churches have an opportunity to be like a plant he passed by often on his prayer journey—a prickly pear cactus. It can be a source of food, water and medicinal healing, he said.

“I believe that people are hungry to hear from God’s people about his unchangeable truth that does not change yesterday, today and forever,” Murillo said. “This plant (also) provides water for the thirsty, just as our congregations are the channels to provide the Living Water to a world that is thirsty for the unchanging wisdom and knowledge from God.”

Both the cactus and the church can bring healing too—for the church, that means offering support amid the stress, tension, depression and other needs caused by the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, he said.

And like the cactus, the church is tough and scrappy at a time like this.

“The church built on the strong foundation of the Word of God and having Christ as the head will survive and will not be shaken by COVID-19 or any other harmful event,” Murillo said. “The unshakable message of the church will speak loud and clear, providing hope to an uncertain world that is living in unsettled times.”