Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 12, 2012

MARK MAYNARD: Church offering unique prayers

Mark Maynard
The Independent

ASHLAND — We live in a day when you can drive-thru for meals, laundry and even to pay our taxes. Why not for prayer, too?

The Rev. John Street of First United Methodist Church says why not indeed.

From noon to 1 p.m. Monday, you can stop by the church at 1811 Carter Ave. and have someone pray with you.

Seriously.

“We thought it was something we could do to reach out to the community,” Street said.

Even in today’s busy climate, who couldn’t stop for three or four minutes to say a prayer?

There may not be an app for it, but there’s certainly a drive-thru for it — right here in Ashland.

“We all carry around so much baggage and problems,” Street said. “You just never know. Even if nobody pulls over, it’s a little bit of publicity for the church.”

People aren’t exactly busting down the church doors these days. But, as Street reasoned, everybody could use a prayer.

“A lot of people are confused right now,” he said. “They don’t know what to think. There’s so much up in the air with health care and the economy. People don’t know what’s going to happen. I think there’s a little bit of fear.”

Street said he recalls how on the night of Sept. 11, 2001, the churches were full.

“I don’t think it’s to the point of 9/11,” he said. “Churches had services and people flocked to the churches. We saw that for a couple of weeks.”

Here’s how it will work Monday: The church will have a tent on its property and traffic cones will mark off some places in front of the church.

Patrons may come over to the tent or have someone from the church’s outreach team come over to their cars.

They will listen, lead you in prayer or even be a shoulder to cry on.

“What we’re trying to do is reach people who wouldn’t normally come into our church but might have a need,” Street said.

The minister said it’s not a new idea, but one he hopes makes a difference.

The outreach team will hold signs for several blocks, hopefully leading people to the drive-thru prayer opportunity.

“This isn’t the first time somebody has tried this, but it’s the first time we have,” Street said. “Bob (Owen) is the kind of person to put this together. He’s spearheading our effort.”

As for how long the church will offer the service to the community, Street said he doesn’t know.

But I’m sure he’ll pray about it — maybe even from the driver’s seat.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.