It's Time To Celebrate The Prayer Room
It is time to celebrate!
It has been 1 year last week that the Prayer Room has been operating in the Mission Thrift Store here in Grande Prairie!
We started out not knowing how it would go, wondering if it would work and here we are one year later, operating Monday – Friday from 1:00-3:00 each day, with 3 volunteers manning the room, myself, my son Glen and a great friend Nelson.
Our set up has not really changed, we use a portable screen to shield the person who is requesting prayer or talking to us and we set up in the furniture department. We get the staff to announce that we are there every hour or so to let people know we are available. If we are not there, we have a mailbox mounted on the wall with Prayer Request forms beside it to fill out and drop into the locked box, all requests are prayed for.
Who knew that when we set up last year, we would have had the pandemic and Covid year looming before us? We didn’t, but God did, and I believe that is why He wanted it to start, a place where people could come and find hope in a year of such uncertainty and fear.
Has it always been busy? No. Has it always been easy to get there? No. There were many times where we questioned 'was our presence making any difference at all?' Days where no one would come for prayer and you felt like you were simply sitting there twiddling your thumbs. I have learned that my comfort and what my eyes and brain think are not important. What is important was that I was listening to what God was asking me to do and that I obeyed.
I think that a lot of us think of prayer as something we do as a last resort, something we run to when life is too hard and we have no idea how to fix it. I have a couple of dog eared pages in my Oswald Chambers book, My Utmost For His Highest, those pages are October 16 and 17. It says on October 17: “Prayer does not equip us for greater work – prayer is the greater work….Prayer is the battle, and it makes no difference where you are….And it is the labouring saint who makes the ideas of his Master possible. When you labour at prayer, from God’s perspective there are always results.”
I would have to say that the Prayer Room has taught me more than I have done for it. I have come to know so many awesome people from being at the store. I have learned that you cannot guess who will come for prayer. You cannot guess what the request will be. I have prayed with several different faiths. I have learned that some days no one comes and other days there is a line up. I have learned that talking to people is just as important as praying for them. I have learned that it is an honor and privilege to be in the prayer room and for me it is a grounding experience each time I am there. I have learned that I am strictly a vessel, and that all the actual work is done by God, my part is to be faithful to pray.
Most of all I have watched prayer work and lives have been changed, miracles have happened and all because we took our requests to God and people were brave enough to come and ask.
I have come to realize that the Mission Thrift Store is real church in action. People can get clothed, fed from the donated bread that they give out, scripture and songs are sung over them in the music, and they can receive prayer, find freedom and salvation. It truly is a full meal deal at the Mission Thrift Store.
The store helps so many people, the profits benefit literacy through Bible League of Canada, they also support prison ministries, offer work experience to people from several local agencies including Rising Above. Most of the staff at the Mission Thrift Store are volunteers which makes it even more exciting that so many people see something so special about the store that they commit their time to helping out.
People from all walks of life come to the thrift store and each person is treated the same with dignity and kindness. The store has a policy that if you are in need, please ask instead of steal.
I have been with people so high that they are not even sure where they are, people so hungry that they need food not a prayer, so cold that they simply needed some warmth, thieves who got caught have been given chance after chance to redeem themselves. I have had children want to sit in the chair behind the screen and talk to God themselves. I have had people so scared and so grateful that someone takes the time to care, I have cried with many, hugged more than a few. Hurting people, lost and broken people, sick people they all come looking for something bigger than themselves to glean some hope from: and they find it here at the Prayer Room.
I had a pastor ask me about the kinds of prayer requests we get and while they are varied, I would have to say the majority of them fall into two groups. The first one being healing and the very close second would be praying for loved ones who are caught in addictions of all kinds.
Here are some of the other requests: salvation, jobs, anxiety, pregnancy’s, places to live, homelessness, jail time, school, bullying, loneliness, children and grandchildren, paying the bills, covid and vaccines.
I have seen many miracles and I love it when people come back to report that their prayers got answered. Cancer’s have gone, body’s healed, hearts mended, loved ones saved. I have prayed for bosses to be kinder or removed (was removed).
I think when the store manager read me this post from Crystal Patterson (whom I do not know) on Facebook today and I bawled like a baby – it might sum up in a nutshell a bit more about Mission Thrift Store and the partnership of the Prayer Room:
“I just want to give a huge shout out to Grande Prairie Mission Thrift Store! This is my 2nd time visiting your store, the 1st time was a week ago and I didn't have much time to look around, however I did today and when I walked in the atmosphere felt like family, everything is so clean and in order and then... then over the intercom a lady announces that if anyone is needing PRAYER that they are welcome to have this gentleman pray for them!
Never in my life have I been in a place to shop and have ever heard anyone ask if anyone needed prayer. There was bread at the front for those who needed it as well. What an incredible blessing to experience this!
I highly recommend people supporting this business.
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever.
So, if you happen to do some Spring cleaning please remember the Mission Thrift Store with your donations and if you have a bit of time once a week or even every other week consider volunteering here, it will be totally worth it, you are helping an amazing ministry.
If you or your church want to set up a Prayer Room of your own and need some ideas, please feel free to connect with me or the store. I promise it will be the most rewarding thing you will ever do.