The sound of conversation and laughter filled Heritage Hall and the Messiah Church lobby on March 18 at the Prayer Partners kick-off event. Families stayed after second service or returned after attending first service to meet their Prayer Partners, have lunch, and get acquainted.
In this new Prayer Partners program, each child and youth at Messiah is matched with an adult who is committed to pray for them. Through special events, like donuts between services, Prayer Partners have the opportunity to build on that prayer relationship as they are both available and inspired to do so.
“The connections we’re building are beautiful,” says Kami Pohl, Messiah’s Director of Community Engagement. “This is a gift to young families to connect with the older generation — and a gift to the older generation who may not get to see their grandchildren often.”
As children get to know their Prayer Partners, they are encouraged to pray for their adult, too. The program has just started and most relationships are in their early get-to-know you stages. Prayer partners are praying, exchanging photos, and sharing a high-five before services.
“The hope with Prayer Partners is that it goes beyond just praying, and they build a connection,” Pastor Steve says. “It feels good to be known, to belong…I’d like every adult here to have a child who knows their name.”
For those who have been able to connect at the Prayer Partner events, relationships are growing beautifully.
Sally and Bill Schumacher, Messiah members, have been excited to get to know Sally’s prayer partner, Mason, and his family. They enjoyed meeting at #Bless Honey & Mackie’s for ice cream.
Even though the relationship is new, “I feel close to the family already,” says Sally. She hopes the summer months will bring more opportunities to get together. Sally and Bill also plan to attend the service when Mason and his brothers are baptized in June.
“I’ve been having fun seeing them between services. They’re cute as can be and very active,” Sally says. “It’s been such a fun experience for me.”
For Charlie Coggin, Messiah member, spending time with his prayer partner, Morgan, gives him a glimpse of what his grandchildren might be like in the future. “He’s a fun little boy,” Charlie says, “just charming…and he has a lot of energy!”
Charlie retired three months ago and is enjoying the time he now has to be more available to attend events. Charlie and his wife, Diana, have spent time with Morgan between services and played games at Honey & Mackie’s.
“When I’m with him, I’m smiling for at least two hours after we’re gone,” Charlie says. “It’s been very fulfilling and it’s been a great way to connect. I feel very fortunate to be matched up with Morgan.”
Kim Dahl, Morgan’s mother, says Morgan feels the same way. “This relationship has been a huge gift for Morgan. It’s the right time in our life for this.” Morgan frequently watches his older siblings at activities, and is enjoying having a special relationship that’s just for him.
Like many of Messiah’s programs, the Prayer Partner program wouldn’t be possible without dedicated members using their gifts to serve our congregation. “I thought it was such an awesome idea and so well timed, given the events happening in our country. I love how well Messiah takes care of our kids, and I wanted to help with that,” says Miranda Spence, Children’s Ministry Team member and Prayer Partner coordinator.
“I love hearing the stories of people making connections, and I love knowing that every child in the church is being prayed for,” says Miranda. “I’ve seen the true nature of our church as they come together, and it’s beautiful.”
For those who haven’t connected in person with their Prayer Partner yet, that’s okay, too. Schedules are difficult, and Prayer Partners don’t need to spend time together to be connected through prayer. Praying regularly for the other person connects you deeply to each other and to God.
“Even if your Prayer Partner can’t be present, come to an event,” Kami says. “You can be that connection for someone else. And the events are good reminders to say an extra prayer and reach out.”
Our goal is for each new child and youth at Messiah to have a Prayer Partner. As Family Ministry grows, we’ll continue to need more Prayer Partners! If you’re interested in becoming a Prayer Partner, contact Kami.