Calvin Christian Reformed Church in McBain, Mich., festooned its roadside parking lot with balloons and bright pink signs on May 4, welcoming those driving by to stop and pray in their cars with waiting volunteers. Every year the rural church, with a congregation of about 50 members, recognizes the U.S. National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday in May. But this year, pastor Ken Koning and prayer group leader Harriet Borgman suggested they do something different.
They had read about a church in another state offering “drive-thru” prayer and thought they’d try it “to see if we get any response.” The church had volunteers ready to pray with anyone who stopped by between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and again from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. “We thought that over the lunch and dinner hours would be when the most traffic would be moving by the church, and people would be most available to perhaps drive in and pray,” Koning said. “[The church is] sitting on a highway . . . so as people get close to our church coming from either way, we’ll have some signs up.” The church’s prayer plan was also covered in a local paper, and Calvin CRC invited other churches to participate too.
Koning said he was pleased with this first attempt at a new type of service for the National Day of Prayer. He noted that nine volunteers had participated over the two time slots and seven people stopped by to ask for prayer—including two who were strangers to the congregation. “One [woman] had just lost a good friend, and as she was driving by and saw the sign, she said ‘Oh my, I could use prayer right now,’ so she pulled in,” Koning said.
Calvin CRC also hosted a more typical evening prayer service inside the church that Thursday night, with 34 people attended from four participating churches.