Church leaders pray for city on 22.3-mile walk
by Nikki Chase
Aug 23, 2013 | 2258 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Prayer walk around Tracy
The 10 members of Tracy Grace Christian Center who embarked on a 22.3-mile prayer walk arrived back at their church 10 hours later to cheers and banners on Saturday, Aug. 17.  Nikki Chase/For the Tracy Press
view slideshow (5 images)
Early Saturday morning, lead pastor Doug Diestler, 40, stood in front of his congregation wearing running shoes and a T-shirt. The day’s mission wasn’t going to be a simple walk in the park.

Five pastors from Grace Christian Center each took along a family member to help them embark on a 22.3-mile prayer walk around the perimeter of Tracy on Saturday, Aug. 17.

“It’s going to be hard, but we think we can do it,” Diestler said. “The prayer walk is a way for us to rally our church. We believe God can move and literally change entire cities.”

Four of the pastors, including Doug Diestler, were accompanied by their wives on the walk, and one took his son.

Walking the perimeter of Tracy while praying for its residents was Diestler’s idea.

“I’ve been in Tracy for a long time, so I had in my mind the route we could take,” Diestler said. “My wife and I drove the route, and it was exactly 22.3 miles from the start of where we are here.”

It was the pastor’s 18-year-old daughter, Shalynn, who found a deeper meaning in the distance.

“She started going through every chapter 22, verse 3 in the entire Bible to try to find if there was some significance,” Diestler said.

Eventually, his daughter found what she was looking for — a sign. A quote from the Book of Revelation inspired her father to continue with his plans to do the prayer walk, and to inspire the other members, they had the quote printed on shirts for everyone to wear.

“It was God confirming what we’re doing here,” Diestler said.

The group started walking at 8 in the morning, and the other church members did what they could to help them complete each mile. Some followed the walkers with water, bandages and other supplies. Others served as cheerleaders.

“We have people scheduled at the four different stops here in town,” said Annette Garrett, a church elder. “We’re going to meet the pastors at the first stop and be their cheerleaders. We’re going to encourage them to keep going.”

Later in the day, church members waited at the corner of Seventh Street and Grant Line Road, anticipating the arrival of the walkers.

“We’re all going to be expecting them at 6 o’clock at night,” said Kim Elam, the director of pastoral and member care, “and then we’ll have our regular Saturday night service.”

The 10 walkers arrived back at their church 10 hours later to the sound of cheers and the sight of banners held by members of the congregation.

• Contact the Tracy Press at 835-3030 or

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet

We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at