We love it when we hear stories of prayer escaping the prayer rooms and turning up in unusual spaces, weaving in with mission and justice, creating a welcoming meeting place between God and those he loves so much but do not yet know him.
Moira Hamilton of Saltcoats recently shared just such a story with us and we thought we’d share it here so that you might be encouraged and inspired as well.
It began in Christmas of 2018, when South Beach Baptist Church was asked to be a peaceful presence at Santa’s Grotto, providing activities to keep children occupied as families came to stand in the queue and receive some special items to make their Christmases as bit cheerier.
South Beach responded enthusiastically, setting up creative activities to keep little fingers busy and parents at peace. But they asked to do something more – set up a Prayer Tree. The idea was welcomed so they bought a lovely, festive tree of light, set it up, and invited the families to write down their pray requests on wee tags then hang them from the tree. Those prayer requests were then gathered up and taken back to the church building where they were prayed over by the congregation.
Though they had no real way of knowing if any of these prayers had been answered, they did hear of one. Someone whose home had become greatly outgrown had asked for a bigger house, which would take a bit of a miracle. That request had become a reality.
Fast forward to Christmas 2021. Not much seems to be happening in Saltcoats for Christmas this year so South Beach took the initiative and asked Costa if they could set the Prayer Tree up in their cafe. They were warmly welcomed and to their surprise, the whole process felt incredibly easy, and they knew God had honoured their boldness and given their little idea his favour. They were delighted as their desire is to be a seen presence of care and availability in the community.
Using the 24-7 Prayer online sign-up, the congregation members are taking turns being “prayer ninjas” in the coffee shop. They go in and order coffees and to anyone looking on, they are like any other customer, sitting and chatting with one another. But their chat happens to be directed at God as they lift up the owners of the deep, heart-felt requests and thank you’s hanging from the Prayer Tree.
It has only been set up a couple of days but already most of the 50+ tags for writing prayers on are now hanging on the tree and they are having to bring more blank ones in.
And on top of that, their little idea has now inspired a Prayer Tree in the Costa in Oakham, England!
What might God do in the lives of your community through your seemingly little idea, your little offering, your bold ask?