Members of Third Christian Reformed Church in Lynden, Wash., understand that they can help people who suffer from long-term illnesses through continuous prayer.
Jeff and Tammelyn Boersma pray for Mike Hornstra.
From 6 a.m. to midnight on February 25, more than 30 people prayed for 11 men and women who suffer from terminal illnesses. Each prayer vigil participant committed to a half hour time slot of continuous prayer.
After several families in the church and community received cancer diagnoses last fall, Kevin Pawlowski felt called to organize a prayer vigil focusing on their needs. Church members hung posters in the sanctuary with each person’s name who would be receiving prayer.
Organizers directed prayer vigil participants around the room to pray for the individual in front of his or her poster. Participants also received prayer guides that shared each person’s story.
“I am always amazed but not surprised when people have something to say how meaningful of an experience this is,” said Pawlowski, “There is a quiet ambiance that draws people into a prayerful posture.”
Prayer vigil participants prayed for church member Joann Bajema’s daughter, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer nine months ago. “I praise God for the many prayers offered for my daughter, some by people who knew and loved her as a child growing up in this church and others who only knew her name. God is already answering those prayers in miraculous ways,” said Bajema.
Alvin Vandergriend, who participated in the vigil, said, “I became strongly convinced that God was pleased in our asking, that in response to our prayers he would work out his best for each person, and that in the end he would be glorified.”
This was the fifth prayer vigil organized by Third CRC. Church members host the event once a year, and each vigil focuses on a particular need within the congregation or Lynden community. “There is something about getting up, getting out there and showing up and passing the torch to one another and keeping that prayer going continuously,” Pawlowski said.