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Headland man takes bike on daylong prayer ride of Judson Associationcomment (0)

May 6, 2010

By Jeremy Henderson

Steve “Stormrider” Betsill got the idea from God. He remembers it this way: He had just pulled his black Honda Valkyrie motorcycle back into the garage after a weekend ride. He walked into the house. That’s when God started talking to him.

“Hey,” God said. “Did you enjoy your ride?”

“Sure,” Betsill said.

“Well then I got something for you to do,” God replied. “I want you to do a prayer ride across the (Judson Baptist) association and pray for every church, first for spiritual awakening and then for jobs for the people and to challenge people to get outside their box and share my love.”

So that’s what Betsill, a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Headland, did.

Two weeks later, on April 11, he woke up really early, pulled his motorcycle back out and took off on his prayer ride.

“Very few people knew about it,” Director of Missions George Thompson said of the prayer ride. “I happened to be out at one of the churches that morning and just before worship time, he rode up, he and his wife and his friend, who were riding behind him in a pickup to make sure everything went OK. Steve stood before the congregation before worship started and explained what the Lord laid on his heart and led them in prayer for the community and the Henry County economic conditions and explained that he was going from church to church.”

Betsill zigzagged Henry County for 146 miles, 21 churches and one breakfast and one lunch. And he prayed — with church members, if they were there, and by himself (save for wife Anita and friend Cynthia Leteourneau, a member of the Dothan chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association), if they weren’t.

“I have a stereo on my bike, but I spent most of the time (on the ride) fellowshipping with God,” Betsill said. “Not that you have to ride a motorcycle to be in tune with God, but it helps you learn to listen and act.”

He had plenty of learning time that day: He started at 7 a.m. and finished at 7 p.m.

“It took him all day to get to the last church,” Thompson said. “They knew he was coming, and there was a group waiting for him. … This is just one guy that thought our churches needed praying for and took it upon himself to do it.”

The response to the prayer ride was such that Betsill plans on doing it again.

At Haleburg Baptist Church, he prayed with about 10 people coming for Sunday School and challenged them.

“One of the old ladies looked at me with just tears in her eyes and said, ‘Thank you so much for challenging people. We need that,’” Betsill said.

He thanked her and hopped back on his Honda. There were plenty more churches to get to and more people to challenge.

“We were praying for revival and for jobs and just to challenge people,” Betsill said. “Part of that challenge is, when God speaks, to act. If you think He’s telling you to help some person or other, that’s not just a thought you had. That’s God speaking to you.”

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