A drive-thru prayer service is gaining traction near Atlanta not just for the convenience, but for the connection it offers. Drivers stuck in rush hour along busy Highway 78 can pull in for some stress relief. For many, praying in the comfort of their cars can be easier than walking into a traditional church.
(Locator: Snellville, Georgia)
Voice of The Rev. Julie Schendel: "We are located on Highway 78 in Snellville. Hundreds and hundreds of cars are driving by past our church."
Prayer Volunteer: "Dear Heavenly Father, we just pray for these people travelling down this road&ellipsis;Hey, sister!"
The Rev. Julie Schendel, Associate Pastor, Snellville United Methodist Church: "I think sometimes it can be a little intimidating for people who don't normally go to church, to think about coming to a Sunday morning service and this might be a slightly smaller step. They can just drive up for five minutes and have someone to connect with and be prayed for."
Iris Green, Volunteer, Drive-thru Prayer: "A lot of people through their busy life they don't take time to pray or sometimes they might feel that their prayer is not heard and if they can get someone to pray for them and with them, that kind of encourage them."
Prayer Volunteer: "God bless you, Sister."
Zelda Smith, Volunteer, Drive-thru Prayer: "We have prayed for broken homes to be mended; young mothers, single parents that are suffering from the economy; husbands without work; small children who have been ill."
The Rev. Julie Schendel: "We had lots of people sending in emails and calling saying, 'I didn't stop, but I saw you out there and I stopped in my car and I prayed' or 'I went home and I talked to my neighbor that I don't normally communicate with.'"
Cliff Hagan, Volunteer, Drive-thru Prayer: "In today's world, everybody just wants to live in individual boxes and not offend people. And they just feel kind of isolated. That's just what I see. So, I think this gives people an opportunity to know that others really do care and they care about their lives and they care about who they are."
The Rev. Efrain Morales, Snellville UMC Hispanic Pastor: "Every day, my wife and me pray for these people. I love the people, all the people. I like to help people. This is my passion."
Prayer Volunteer: "So we lift them all to you, today."
Zelda Smith: "I've seen, so often, many, many tears. But, they're tears of joy and restoration, that things will get better."
Prayer Volunteer: "God bless you. God bless you, too. Bye-bye."
The Rev. Julie Schendel: "They drive up as a stranger and they leave being touched by the spirit of God. They leave knowing that someone cares about them. They leave knowing that we are continuing to pray for them."
Snellville UMC offers the drive-thru prayer service at least quarterly, usually before Advent and before Holy Week, so they can hand out information about upcoming services if people ask.
Rev. Morales receives daily prayer requests from the Hispanic community. The church offers weekly worship services exclusively in Spanish. For more information, visitwww.snellvilleumc.org or call 770-972-9360.
Posted: January 3, 2012