Whether someone is on the way home from a stressful day of work, worried about a friend or family member, or needs a prayer just to get by, members of Grace United Methodist Church have one to offer.
As part of their “drive-by prayers” program, church members will pray for anyone and everyone right in the parking lot of the church, located at 2 Neosho St.
“I just think it gives a positive feel to the community as people are going by on South Avenue,” Ken Hanson, church member, said. “Sometimes they’re on their way home from work and maybe they’ve had a tough day.”
For the past three years, members of the church have participated in this program to offer their prayers to those in need.
Two or three church members stand on South Avenue, near the church, for one to two hours and hold up signs offering people to pull in if they have any prayer concerns or troubles. The members then simply offer their prayers right there in the parking lot.
This year’s program will begin in July and take place once a month through October. The dates have not yet been decided.
The idea came from a United Methodist magazine, where Hanson read about a church in Ohio that had hosted drive-by prayers, and he wanted to bring the idea to the community. Hanson and Grace United Methodist Church member Rita Anderson spearheaded the program.
“I think any time we get a positive representation for Christ that this community as a whole benefits,” Hanson said. “It’s just a positive reinforcement. It’s just to know that there’s help that’s out there.”
Hanson said it is evident that the community appreciates the prayer services, even if many do not take the time to stop. They often receive honking horns and thumbs up as people drive by. Some people even reciprocate the support through random acts of kindness.
“One time, I had a gentleman, it was raining, and he got out and gave me an umbrella,” Hanson said.
The range of prayer requests varies just as much as the people who pull in and the members are more than willing to offer support to anyone and everyone.
“We’ve had somebody who’d just been diagnosed for diabetes,” Hanson said. “We had somebody whose mom was going through (a) crisis, and we had a group of folks that were travelling on the way to Nebraska and they just asked for prayer for safe guidance.”
Although they usually see just one or two cars in the parking lot at a time, they have had as many as six vehicles pull in at a time, requesting prayers.
No matter the cause, the trouble or the request, Grace United Methodist Church is reaching out to the community in order send a positive message by reaching out to those in need.