As thousands gather for Prayer March 2020 in Washington, D.C., Bob and Betty Cripe will be leading their assisted living facility in their own kind of prayer time.
The Cripes are 94-year-old residents of Waterford Crossing, a community of about 200 people in Goshen, Indiana.
One night, they saw Franklin Graham on TV talking about the Prayer March.
Betty—who was “ticked” more people weren’t calling for national prayer in turbulent times—said she and Bob immediately wanted to get involved.
“We just started praying and decided, ‘Why not?’” Betty said.
For months, Waterford Crossing has been on lockdown due to COVID-19, but now people are starting to get out a little more, at least to appointments.
While they can’t go as far as D.C., Bob and Betty see no reason that should stop them from praying along with Franklin Graham and anyone else who shows up to the National Mall this weekend.
“We can get out on campus and we can walk. We can have our own walk,” Betty said.
Through FaceTime, the couple explained how they spread the word to the rest of their facility.
“Everyone here has been notified of the walk,” Bob said.
He and Betty took the liberty of typing out an invitation and printed a copy on plain white paper.
Life Enrichment Director Jennifer Bradley then made copies and distributed them to residents.
“Bring canes, walkers, wheelchairs, etc., or sit on the porch in silent prayer,” the invitation says.
Whether people literally walk alongside Bob and Betty, or bring a wheelchair or mobility scooter, all are welcome to make a loop around the facility’s beautiful grounds.
And if people can’t walk at all?
“For some of us, it will be a prayer rock,” Bob said. “Some of them will be sitting on rocking chairs and praying.”
Born in 1926, Bob and Betty have witnessed what they call America’s “steady slide downhill”—particularly a division among people—whether spiritual, racial, political or otherwise.
“We have gone through the Depression to World War II, and never has there been this divisive, tear-apart kind of thing,” Betty said.
That’s why they pray, in hopes of a more unified country for their four children, 10 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
“God heals. He answers prayer,” Bob said.
Everyone Can Pray
Thursday morning, Betty was part of a women’s Bible study of about a dozen people at Waterford, and received “very positive feedback” about the facility’s upcoming prayer walk.
She and Bob even drafted prayer points to hand out Saturday as people gather at Waterford’s entrance to begin the walk. They’ll walk for an hour, or if residents get tired, they can sit and pray.
Residents can wear masks and avoid congregating too close together.
However they pray, Betty said, God will hear.
“It doesn’t make any difference how infirm you are, if you believe the Lord answers prayer, then that’s what you do.”