For one week in November 2017, Paeroa had a ‘prayer shop’. All the local churches took part, with Paeroa Baptist Church leading it. It was the third year the initiative had been run.
The shop was open from 10am to 4pm each day, with teams of four people praying in three-hour shifts. They simply prayed for a blessing; there was no counselling, no guilt, no evangelism—just karakia.
Last year 48 people were praying, and 28 people were prayed for. Many were church people but many others would never go into a church.
“How can you buy a prayer?” was the reaction from one unchurched person to the prayer shop. When it was explained that it was free prayer, in a shop, on the main street, for anyone, for one week, the teenager said, “What a lovely idea.”
The shop was advertised in the local paper and there were posters on a pavement sandwich board and in the shop window. The posters were in English and te reo Māori, and a number of people read them with obvious fascination, especially those in te reo.
“Rick Warren suggested blessing your community by humbling yourself, praying, seeking God and repenting, so I took the idea of a month of prayer doing just that to the prayer leader Lyn Ross,” says Paeroa Baptist Pastor Alan George (shown left in photo, with Pastor Shane Mitchell of Paeroa Elim Community Church).
“They made a prayer calendar by asking 30 community groups what they do and what they would like prayer for. Lyn suggested a shop for the prayer. God has provided a location each year for that one week.”
Alan says that prayers for God to ‘bless the land’ of Paeroa are answered every year as they see more people involved, greater networking through the calendar contact, more answers to the calendar prayers, more pray-ers, greater enthusiasm for prayer, and increased connection between churches. The local mayor also told him that the Hauraki District had above average GDP for 2017!
One un-churched person who came in gave some help to the church later. They summed up the prayer shop’s goal when they said, “I’m giving you this help because you prayed for me at a very significant time in my life.”
Story: Alan George, Pastor, Paeroa Baptist Church