Brookside Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., hosted its sixth drive-thru prayer hour June 22. Members started offering this in January as a public way “to stand in the gap for people” and to demonstrate that Brookside “is a praying church,” Nicole Davis said. Davis is Brookside’s faith formation coordinator and one of the two initiators of drive-thru prayer. The outdoor format was originally conceived to fit with pandemic protocols, but Davis said she "absolutely" wants to keep this experience of showing Jesus’ love to others through prayer. “For me, COVID or no COVID, this is something I think is very important to continue,” Davis said. The next date is expected in September.
On a prayer day two volunteers hold signs along Kalamazoo Drive, where the church is located, and about 30 people have swung their cars into the parking lot where Davis and one or two other volunteers meet the drivers to pray.
Davis has been moved by the stories of people who stop, recognizing that almost all of them are not connected to a church. “God placed this church in this community for a reason,” Davis said. “It’s so important to know the people in our community. We want people to know when they pass this church, this is a praying church, this is a church where you are welcome.”
Other forms of prayer ministry at the church include a Wednesday meeting prayer group with the pastors, “prayer servants” available after worship on Sundays, and a once-a-year prayer and worship event where attendees pray through stations with different prompts.
Davis and prayer volunteer Ellie Van Keulen dreamed up the drive-thru addition in response to heightened tensions in the United States surrounding the 2020 election, especially after the capitol riots on January 6. Davis said, “I had been praying ‘Okay Lord, I know you’re calling us to do something, but what do we do?’ and (Ellie) called me … so we just put our heads together and we said ‘hey let’s do drive-thru prayer together.’” After inviting their husbands and a couple of other prayerful people from Brookside CRC to join in, they have offered the drive-thru sessions six times on Tuesday afternoons from noon to 1 p.m.
Related: U.S. Churches Organize Prayer Gatherings for Nation, Election (October 9, 2020); Northern Michigan Church Offers ‘Drive-Thru’ Prayer on National Day of Prayer (May 12, 2017)
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