The 1025 Initiative
The inspiration for Perritte Memorial’s 1025 prayer movement came from Flood Gates by Sue Nilson Kibbey, a book handed to each church at Annual Conference in 2017. Interim pastor Barbara Robberson says, “In the 2nd chapter she writes passionately about a Breakthrough Prayer Initiative. Taking her lead -- and the story of a church which adopted a specific time to pray each day based on their address -- we adopted this initiative, too.”
It started with the Perritte prayer team that meets every Sunday morning with the pastor. Prayer team members recited the book’s "break through prayer" while walking through the church. At various locations, they attached sticky notes bearing only four numbers: 1025. “Folks began to get curious about these notes, but only the prayer team knew their significance initially,” adds Barbara.
As both a church member and church secretary Susan Teekell had a unique vantage point as this unfolded. “On that initial Sunday morning, you couldn't help but notice multicolored sticky notes on windows, walls, doors and anywhere else they would stick! Since I am on staff, people began to ask me about the notes, yet I had no idea.”
During the week, as Susan walked her VBS students through their rotations, the kids asked her over and over what the number meant; church members and non-members, children and adults were mystified for weeks.
One Sunday, members found slips of paper with "1025" written on them sticking out of almost every hymnal in the sanctuary. Shares Susan, “I decided to insert the number in 16 places in the bulletin, and for covered dish lunch, we printed "1025" paper tents for all the tables in the fellowship hall. It was hard to tune out because there were new incarnations of the number every week.”
Finally in the third week, Barbara worked the 1025 mystery into the sermon and the secret was out. She challenged the congregation to commit to faithfully praying twice a day for God to break through in new ways so that Perritte could move forward in new and exciting ways to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Susan is in the church office at 10:25 a.m. on weekdays. “When the alarm on my phone rings, we stop whatever is happening in the office and pray. Sometimes it’s just me and other times as many as five are praying together to break through whatever might be holding Perritte Memorial UMC back from becoming the church that God needs us to be.” She adds, “In response to our prayers, God is showing us ways to break through our comfort zones of complacency and better serve Him.”
Prayer ministry member Judy Allensworth knows that the congregation no longer mirrors the multi-ethnic residents in its immediate mission field.
“We have struggled for years with the question of how to best reach out to our neighbors, convinced that God has kept us here for a reason,” Judy explains. Pastor Barbara had 11 people recently commit to accompany the pastor and music director to a local nursing home on the first Sunday of each month to lead worship and communion with residents. Others are beginning to serve meals in the homeless shelter very near the church. “I truly believe God will use this 1025 effort to help us show the love of Christ in our community in ways that will transform all of our lives,” adds Judy.
This creative yet simple idea gleaned from a book is now taking root at 1025 Durst Street and beyond. “It is really exciting for me,” Barbara shares, “when I am in Houston praying at 10:25, in the morning or night, to realize that up in Nacogdoches or a dozen other places, my congregation is praying at the same time for God to break through in new ways for our ministries.”