A drive-thru prayer service has popped up near Atlanta. But volunteers at Snellville United Methodist Church say it’s not just for convenience, it’s for the connection as well.
Drivers sitting in rush hour traffic along busy Highway 78 can pull in for a quick prayer and a little stress relief. Iris Green, a volunteer for Drive-thru Prayer, said on a video for the project: “A lot of people, through their busy life, 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 encourages them.”
Volunteers for the service stand out in front of the church waving a small red flag with signs that read: “Drive Thru Prayer Today.” Cars can drive up to the church underpass and volunteers will take prayer requests and pray with them through their car window – in true drive-thru fashion.
The church holds the Drive-Thru Prayer station two to three times a year. But Kay Cribbs, lay minister for visitation at the church, told The Christian Post that in the past two months alone they have held two days of prayer, because they felt the bad economy has put more people in need. Usually about 20-30 cars drive up during the two-hour period they hold the Drive-Thru Prayer service.
Zelda Smith, a volunteer for Drive-Thru Prayer, said on the video: “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.”
Cribbs told CP that the main reason for the drive-thru is to give people comfort, whether they have specific needs or just want to pray with someone. She said a wide variety of people come through.
High school and college students have come asking for prayer for their grades. Others have asked for prayer for their loved ones, or those that have illnesses. In November, the biggest prayer request was for those that had lost their job and needed to find a new one.
“One mother came through [and] wanted us to pray for her dealing with her middle school son. He had turned from a perfect straight-A student and was rebelling,” she said.
After passengers share requests and pray with the volunteers, they are given a brochure about the church and invited back.
Associate Pastor Julie Schendel said they found that for many people praying in their cars is easier than walking into a traditional 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,” she said.
Cribbs agreed with Schendel, but said the prayer service is more of a one-on-one thing so they hope they can connect enough for people to come back.
She said she was “kind of surprised [at] how open people were to strangers;” they even had one woman come back and say her prayers were answered. The service, Cribbs said, is really a “reprieve for people driving through from the daily grind and problems before they get home; [it’s a] moment of comfort.”