Prayer Team Creativity Sparks Growth
Sticky notes, newspapers, candles and graffiti have new significance at McKinney Memorial UMC in La Marque, thanks to a creative Prayer Team working to bring new focus to this meaningful spiritual discipline.
Glenn Johnson (in photo at right) appreciates the creativity and variety of ways prayer has been highlighted in recent weeks at Memorial UMC, McKinney, particularly the contemplative prayer stations created by the newly appointed prayer team. “The stations provided an intimate space whereby I could make my individual connections regarding the theme for prayer,” shares Glenn. “Normally one would just expect the sanctuary to provide that quiet solemn space, but this was an opportunity to also experience firsthand what we were being taught in a Bible study class -- the impact of quiet time with God.”
According to Project Director Carol Johnson, the 12-hour prayer vigil included:
Station #1 - Burdens - By using sticky notes, individuals were able to actively hand burdens over to God and post them on a large wooden cross. The sticky notes were all removed and prayed for at the weekly prayer meeting the following Wednesday.
Station #2 - Community Prayer - This contemplative prayer station facilitated prayer for events and people within our community as they thumb through a stack of local newspapers.
Station #3 - Grief - This station encouraged prayer warriors to remember the life qualities of their loved ones who have died, to soften the grieving process and celebrate their lives.
Station #4 - Healing in Our Church - Various scriptures on healing were provided for reading and meditation to deal with division and discord, broken hearts, unresolved conflict and forgiveness, as well as the withholding of tithes, gifts, and talents. Prayers for unity and healing were facilitated via pictures of congregants at the prayer station.
Station #5 - Personal Prayer Needs - Members were invited to light a candle as they lifted up their special need through prayer and meditation on John 8:12 to remind all that Jesus is the light of the world.
Station #6 - Thanksgiving Wall - Members could write thankful graffiti messages to God.
“Prayer stations can be highly creative or an incredibly simple approach to prayer and spiritual reflection,” shares Carol. “Typically, a space is set up where people can enter and participate at their own pace and level. The prayer team is looking forward to implementing this on a grand scale level for the entire community in the coming New Year.”
Additionally, McKinney's Prayer Garden, located between the sanctuary and community center is being offered as a very intimate space to be with God, and the prayer team is available for altar prayer every Sunday during the altar call. Adds Carol, “Members just have to offer open hands and the prayer team intercedes. We also designed prayer cards to allow members to request prayer and even a call or visit from the pastor, especially for prayer.”
Other church-wide prayer initiatives include:
1. weekly catalyst prayers that are sent via email using computer technology
2. monthly prayer calendars provided for all members to use during quiet time prayer away from the church and
3. the ability to post prayer requests online via the church’s website at www.mckinneyumc.net.
Carol is excited to see that this newly developed prayer team has guided the church to another level with its intense focus. “Preaching series, Bible studies on prayer, and the nurturing efforts of the prayer team are reminding the congregation that the church must emphasize the importance of prayer in preparing God's people to live for Christ and to share His love with others as we carry out His great commission. This effort has attracted new membership, clarified roles, and brought new creativity to the subject of prayer.
Brenda Matthews adds, “Connecting with God at each individual station and praying for the specific theme was awesome!”