Katherine Walker has inspired thousands of women in the central San Joaquin Valley and throughout the world to regularly pray for their husbands, using social media as the platform.
Walker, coordinator of the prayer ministry team at Central Community Church in Fresno, founded the Facebook group, "31 Days of Praying for Your Husband," which provides an area for participants to pray on behalf of their husbands each day. It includes Scripture and a written prayer.
The prayer prompts started on June 4 and grew like wildfire.
The group finished Friday with 5,146 participants, including a former Kerman resident who now lives in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Buoyed by the strong response, Walker is launching another new Facebook group, "31 Days of Women Praying Scripture Over Children." The group begins today.
Cheri Beasley, page administrator for "31 Days of Praying for Your Husband" and a member of the Married and Committed Ministry at Westside Church of God in Fresno, says social media is a burgeoning tool to help bring people together in cause for a time period.
"We're all kind of fragmented and doing our day-to-day things," says Beasley, who also is page administrator for the group praying for children. "Social media brings us together. It reminded me, 'OK, go and take a minute and pray for your husband, look at what some of these other women are doing and saying, and think about what you can pray for as you come alongside them.' "
Walker, who also is a mentor at Rescue the Children, a ministry of the Fresno Rescue Mission, says social media offers an opportunity to create a sense of "community" that appeals to people in their everyday lives.
"It unites us together," Walker says. "There's a great need out there for women to come together in prayer."
Women from every state in the U.S. participated in the husbands prayer group, as well as from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Africa, Germany, the Dominican Republic and other countries.
Walker says she chose the area of praying specifically for husbands because it helps in keeping a strong, healthy marriage.
"They are our better half," she says. "They are the ones that lead our home. They need to be lifted up in prayer."
The prayer prompts used a study, "31 Days of Praying for Your Husband," that Walker found online. She enhanced it by writing a prayer each day to serve as a guideline for participants to write their own prayers related to what was happening in their lives.
Annie Ortiz, the former Kerman resident who now lives in the Dominican Republic, says she grew in her faith by participating in the group.
She is married to Jose Ortiz, a former baseball player with the Colorado Rockies and Oakland A's who now is a scout for the Saitama Seibu Lions in the Japan baseball league.
She also grew in her prayer writing.
"Writing that one prayer each day, I really got to see how much energy and time and how much knowledge I got in one verse," she says. "I was able to grow and to help 5,000 other people. That brought such reward that only the heavens would understand."
Walker says it is important that participants in Facebook groups deepen their faith in God.
"I have the attention of 5,000 women, which is a huge impact," she says. "I want to make sure (God) gets all the glory. It's all about him, nothing to do with me."
How to join
To participate in the new Facebook group, "31 Days of Women Praying Scripture Over Children," go to www.facebook.com/groups/542145549228861.
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