It took a leap of faith of sorts for a Kentucky preacher to start what he hopes will be a journey of over 1,000 miles that takes him across the perimeter of the state praying as he goes.
Mark Mills, an evangelist with Chariot of Fire Fellowship in Ewing, is nearly halfway through a 1,200-mile prayer walk throughout Kentucky. A recent stop in Williamsburg put him at the 550-mile mark in his journey.
“It’s an intimidating 1,200 miles. I have never walked this far in my life,” said Mills, who will turn 50 next year. “I just have a peace in my spirit that this is what the Lord wants me to do, and he will be with me.”
His travels give him time to pray. The prayers change depending on where he is walking. A nearby church might prompt prayer for people to reach out to their community. A nearby school may prompt prayer for the students inside and the teachers instructing them.
“I have just been praying for everyone in the state. Throughout the journey, I have met some nice people,” Mills said.
Mills also spends a great deal of time praying for what he calls strongholds over the state, such as drug addiction, alcoholism, sexual immorality, gambling, tobacco and pride.
Mills said he got the idea for the walk while going through a divorce. At that time, he began to consider matters of faith, placing faith in God and felt led by God to walk around his city, county and state.
“I was OK with the first two. When he said the state, I thought, ‘Lord you’ve got too big. Let’s be realistic,'” Mills admits.
Stepping out on faith, Mills decided to take the challenge after getting various confirmations from different sources that it is something he was supposed to do.
One came from a Somerset man at a concert in Lexington, who walked up to Mills and started talking to him.
“He said, ‘Sir, I’ve been sitting behind you. For the past two hours, I’ve felt the Lord has been telling me I’m supposed to come up to you and give you a confirmation of whatever the Lord has you doing that you do it no matter what the obstacles,'” Mills recalled.
Mills said that he had never met the man before.
Coincidentally, Sept. 30, which was the day he planned to start the prayer walk, was also the man’s birthday, Mills said.
When he first proposed the walk, Mills said most of the reactions he got were good from his four children, his home church and even his boss, who he said is also a Christian.
Mills, who is a carpenter by day, said his boss was all right with him taking off four months to do the prayer walk.
He started out by walking 120 miles in his home county, Clark County, in preparation for the state walk.
“I still haven’t covered as many roads as I would like too,” Mills said. “Over the coming year, I would like to finish up three or four more roads in the county.”
Mills began his walk on Sept. 30 in Louisville, before going to Newport, Ashland, and now into Whitley County. He expects the total journey to take about four months.
He normally walks 12 to 14 miles per day Monday through Saturday. He arrived in Williamsburg Saturday.
Mills said he usually tries to make Saturday a short day’s walk and returns home to minister at his home church on Sunday.
He said that his trek would take him through 44 county seats. At each one, he stops, blows his trumpet and makes a prayer declaration on the courthouse steps.
Mills made his declaration in Williamsburg Monday morning before resuming his walk that took him towards McCreary County in route to Monticello, which is the next leg of his journey that will end in Louisville.
“I have gone through the most intimidating part of the walk,” Mills said.
He said the idea for blowing the trumpet comes from Biblical days where it was a prominent weapon God chose to put into the hands of his warriors, such as Joshua in the battle of Jericho.
Mills said that his father, Ivan, follows him on a few bad weather days, but that most of the time he just has a backpack with a small tent inside.
Sometimes he stays in motels. Sometimes, strangers let him stay in their homes. At other times, Mills said he camps out by the river.
Mills said that if he is close to being done with the journey by the end of the year, then he would probably continue. If not, he will postpone the remainder of the trek until spring.
“It is going to be finished. I’m not sure He’s really concerned about when just as long as it is finished,” Mills noted.