Community-wide prayer initiative to Bless Every Home in Friendship and beyond

A group of Friendship churches is embarking on an initiative to Bless Every Home through prayer on an ongoing basis, helping to create a foundation for community revival and transformation.

Pastor Kevin Palmiter, left, shows clergy colleagues Duane Broadwell, center, and Kirk Kirch how Friendship homes will be selected for ongoing prayer.

The What God is DoingTM in Friendship ny alliance of churches is seeking to pray for every household in the town through an community prayer initiative involving both local church attendees and others.

The churches will be undertaking the endeavor through a ministry which helps identify households within the same area of the residence of a Christian Light, a person who prays for individuals and families within their neighborhoods.

The prayer effort will be open to not only congregants of participating churches but to others within the Friendship community who want to join the effort.

Pastor Duane Broadwell of Bible Baptist Church Friendship NY 14739, one of the participating churches, noted that prayer “forms the foundation for development of vibrant communities in which the Spirit of God is invited into our midst to help create and nurture caring connections among His people.”

He said this initiative “encourages Christians within a community and beyond to better know and love their neighbors.”

Using maps of the community, Lights will be assigned individuals and families within their neighborhoods to be prayed for on a rotating basis over a week’s period of time, with the process then being repeated. The activity won’t be intrusive upon those being prayed for, organizers report.

Better Connections Made
Over time, new and better connections and relationships are built with neighbors, according to Pastor Kevin Palmiter of Followers of the Way – Nile Community Church, with an opportunity for neighbors to become a blessing to neighbors.

To assist those who are praying to remember their neighbors, prayers with email service or who download a cellphone app will obtain a daily list of five households to pray for.

Those without internet service receive a printed list of 40 households which they can keep in prayer.

If a household is located near more than one praying Light, individuals and families may be on more than one prayer list.

“This initiative helps those who are praying to show the love of Jesus, regardless of their neighbors’ spiritual beliefs,” according to Pastor Kirk Kirch of the United Church of Friendship.

“It challenges participants to show neighbors authentic community and hospitality,” he said, noting that “many people don’t even know their neighbors, or are aware of few, in what has become a work-focused environment in which people are more mobile than in prior decades when neighbors relied upon neighbors and area family members to assist them in times of need.”

Organizers say that “staying connected with your community is more crucial than ever in today’s rapidly changing world.”

The pastors point out that “when we begin to pray for our neighbors, we are not just asking God to work in their lives but also are opening our own hearts to our neighbors, helping to create stronger communities.”

They add that “prayer has a way of cultivating empathy and compassion. As we pray for our neighbors, we start to see them through God’s eyes, and this can transform how we interact with them as we grow in faith.”

Orientations to start
Orientation sessions for congregants of each church will occur over the next several weeks.

Individuals who aren’t part of a participating church congregation, but would like to be involved in this ministry, can contact Allegany Hope, alliance outreach coordinator, at AlleganyHopeWNY@outlook.comor (585) 664-9989 to be scheduled for inclusion in an orientation gathering.

A greater emphasis on prayer in the community started last September with the first Thursday of the month 8:30AM gathering for prayer stu­dents, teachers, administrators, other staff, the Board of Education, parents and others in front of the Friendship Central School.

In May, the activity expanded during the National Day of Prayer, which happened to coincide with the school prayer gathering, with a continental breakfast being served afterward at the Bible Baptist Church, located across the street.

Participant numbers have increased significantly, with the prayer gatherings and breakfasts continuing during the summer, the next being this coming Thursday, July 4, starting at the school at 46 West Main Street, with all community residents invited to attend.