According to Ken Cavanagh, Pastor of the Y Church that meets in the Fisher’s Landing YMCA just outside of Indianapolis, it’s like setting up a “Holy Speed Bump” in people’s busy lives! All it takes is a small table, an array of fruit and chocolate, a couple of volunteers and a sign that says “FREE PRAYER”. Set it up in the lobby of the YMCA and people will stop!
That’s been experience that Ken and his team of volunteers have seen in their monthly experiments with free prayer. The volunteers all wear a YMCA name tag and T-Shirt, if possible, to give them a sense of legitimacy in the Y. They stand alongside of the table, rather than behind it so they can welcome those coming and going from their workouts or classes. They work in mixed groups and engage in friendly conversations with those that pass by, whether they are looking for someone to pray with them or not.
During a recent USMN monthly conference call Ken shared a few stories about what has happened since they began this experiment 3 months ago. He and his team have been amazed how open people are to stop for prayer. The prayer team volunteers often ask those who stop by a key question: “If God could do something great in your life, what would it be?” Many of those who are asked that question share deep, personal needs in their lives.
Ever mindful of their role as representatives of Jesus Christ and the YMCA, the prayer volunteers normally remind those they are praying with of the gospel message in their prayer….(i.e. “Father in heaven, thank you that you loved the world so much you gave your One and only Son as a sacrifice for our sins, and that by believing in Him we can enjoy eternal life”) and that everyone is welcome at the YMCA, no matter of their faith or background.
This simple act of caring and prayer makes a tremendous impact on people’s lives. It doesn’t take a lot of time or energy but communicates a powerful message to the YMCA community about the importance of our Christian heritage. We encourage you to try a little “FREE PRAYER” yourself in your YMCA. You might be surprised how such a simple act of kindness can make such a difference!