Before students started walking the halls of Sweeny ISD schools again, local residents wanted to ensure God was there first.
First Baptist Church of Sweeny hosted a prayer walk in each of the three Sweeny schools Wednesday, the night before classes opened for the year. All of the campuses were open at the same time and people from the community chose where they wanted to go.
While this event has been going on for several years, this year the community was allowed to walk through the schools.
Pastor John Price led the walk through the elementary school, associate pastor Warren Rayburn guided people through the junior high and youth minister Blair Marsh hosted at the high school.
“In Exodus, whenever Moses was on the mountaintop with God and God said, ‘You can go now,’ Moses said, ‘Don’t let us leave without your presence. We’re not going to leave here without you,’ “ Marsh said to those gathered to pray in the high school. “That’s kind of what we are doing here today.”
Students, parents, grandparents, faculty and many from the church prayed in the cafeteria, gym, band hall and many other rooms.
The sentiment reiterated by many participants was, in today’s culture, they felt the need to pray over the safety of students and faculty working within the buildings.
“There’s so much going on in the world today,” Nikki Woods said. “They’ve taken prayer out of the schools, but I feel like this is a way we can bring it back.”
Woods graduated from Sweeny High School and has a son who attends school in the district. She prayed for unity. If everybody is unified, there’s nothing that can’t be conquered, whether it’s athletics, studies or any other challenge, Woods said.
“I feel like this is one way we are showing unity together,” she said. “We believe that in prayer, anything can happen.”
Thelma and Don Buchanan have several grandchildren who attend Sweeny schools. They prayed for protection.
“We just went through one of those classes about armed people going into the schools,” Thelma Buchanan said. “We feel like if we pray and put God around this school, it (will) be protected because there’s a lot of power in Jesus. We need all the protection we can (get) from this evil world that we have.”
Along with prayers for safety, Marsh prayed for wisdom and the love of learning. Through experience as a youth minister, Marsh has seen it is harder for students to want to learn with all of the modern distractions, and school becomes just a place to go, he said. Marsh prays for the encouragement of teachers and students.
“We want them to know that we love them by the power of Jesus,” Marsh said. “They don’t leave this place feeling unloved. It’s a hard place (and) can get super intense and discouraging. So, we are trying to cover it in prayer before that discouragement finds a way to enter through the door.”