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Free Prayer!!!!

Staff Member
When I first read this article I thought of a brother here @robaston who had suggested and has a desire to start an online prayer group. Even if no one is interested, but is a prayer warrior and feels by the Spirit to help others. Please contact him.

Also, keep the below thought in mind. You might be a creature of habit and find yourself frequenting a place all the time or not. This might be something you may want to do. The variations of this are only limited by your own desire to help, minister. Maybe a sign saying "Free talk about Jesus" etc.. Always remember.......if it says "Free" it automatically will draw peoples eyes to it! Few people can resist "Free Stuff". :)

God Bless and to the Glory of God.

Free Prayer

A pastor’s first job is to “take care of our people,” writes a Lutheran pastor. Sometimes, he has learned, “our people” are those we have never met.

I drink coffee only on Thursdays. This is partly because I am a weirdly patterned person. It’s also because I feel insecure ordering my preferred tea at a coffee shop; it’s like ordering a salad at a steakhouse. But the main reason I drink coffee on Thursdays is because that’s the day I take a little sign that says “Free Prayer”and sit at a local coffee shop for a few hours.

I like to think I have great ideas, but good advice gets all the credit for my work as a first-call parish pastor. One mentor and professor, for example, shared this: “As pastors, the first thing we have to do is take care of our people.” With that in mind, I focused my first year of ministry on spending time at people’s homes, setting up several visits a week to meet their dogs, applaud their children’s artwork and pray with them around their dinner tables.

A second bit of advice came from a clergyman who offered this: “A pastor is doing the job well when at least half of his or her time is spent outside the office.” Pastors regularly go out on hospital visits or stop by the homes of newcomers, but the administrative demands of parish ministry otherwise keep many of us shackled to our swivel chairs. For me, come Thursday mornings, after too much time within my office walls, I become cantankerous. So for everyone’s sake, I heed that good advice and break out of my sacred confines, fleeing to a local coffee shop for reading and sermon writing.

When I first started doing this last summer, I felt insecure and self-indulgent -- an incognito clergyman in shirt and tie munching an “everything” bagel with cream cheese and calling it work. I had to legitimize pastoring in Panera.

That’s when I began wearing my clergy collar each Thursday and setting up at any one of my church’s dozen or so “satellite campuses” (i.e., the coffee shops where I typically run into several parishioners I’ve missed the previous Sunday morning). I bring with me a sign that says “Free Prayer,” with a quote at the bottom from Martin Luther: “Pray, and let God worry.”

And people stop to pray with me every time.

One brisk October morning, a man I had not met walked through the ever-swinging door of the local Starbucks. Amari, from West Philadelphia, had business at the courthouse in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the town where I serve. He looked at me and asked, “‘Free prayer’? What’s that?” I explained that I’m a pastor in town who goes out to where people are during the week to offer prayer. Tears welled up in his eyes. He placed his coffee and courthouse papers on my table and walked outside.

Sometimes,our people are the ones we have never met.

I packed my things and Amari’s and went outside to invite him to go for a walk. As we strolled together over the next hour, I heard all the unuttered prayers and pains he had held inside for two years. His wife had experienced an identity crisis and left him. A dear friend had died from a blood clot. An aunt had died from medical malpractice. Another friend had died from an overdose. Finally, death had taken his sister. Death had hollowed out Amari’s spirit, and he had spoken about it to no one. “Then I read those words, ‘Free Prayer,’” he said, “and I couldn’t keep it in anymore.” It seemed that God had enacted a little apocalypse, an awakening, in Amari’s soul. And all I’d had to do at first was sit there.

Though I offer prayers for others, the blessings have also come to me. I recall when a man sat down and requested prayer for a friend undergoing heart surgery. I asked whether he’d like to start the prayer. He began, “Dear God, I thank you for Thomas. Thank you for giving him the courage to offer prayer in this place. And Lord, may Thomas know that you are well-pleased with what he is doing.”

Heaven embraced me with that prayer. I was second-guessing my ability to reverse trends, to draw more people to worship, to inspire more generosity. Then a stranger prayed for me, and I felt, at least in that moment, that I was doing something right.

The bulk of my ministry is still among people within my congregation, but I am grateful for those free prayers at coffee shops each week. I think of the schizophrenic woman who stopped and asked for prayer because she sees witches. We prayed for courage and strength and protection. An owner of a Dunkin’ Donuts asked me to pray for her shop. Upon seeing my “Free Prayer” Facebook post, an old acquaintance asked for prayer for his nephew born three months early. A manager of a Starbucks sat down at my table to share what God had been up to in her life.

God has been up to a lot in my life through this Free Prayer ministry. While it has done admittedly little to expand the ranks of my congregation, it has done much to expand my vocation to include the ranks upon ranks of God’s people I have never met who are searching for answers, waiting for comfort and willing to pray.

An Amari walks into a coffee shop every day in your town. I guarantee it. It may be a man or a woman, young or old, but an Amari is there. And he or she could really use some prayer. I set up my little sign to invite people to “pray, and let God worry” right where they are -- because the Amaris need prayer and aren’t about to walk into my office down the hill at church.

Sometimes, we have to move beyond the shadows of a steeple to take care of our people. And in so doing, we may just find that God takes care of us, too.

Thomas Rusert

How to set up your own "Free Prayer"

A pastor who started a Free Prayer ministry in local coffee shops offers advice about beginning one in your community.

Interested in beginning your own Free Prayer ministry? Here are a few tips to get started:

1.Appearance matters.The first time I offered free prayer I was wearing a shirt and tie, sitting in a lonely booth in Panera. Nobody stopped. I realized that I probably looked a little questionable. I wouldn’t send my daughter to approach just any white-bearded man with her Christmas list; he’s got to have the red suit. Clothes matter. This is where the white collar and black shirt that my tradition never ditched really comes in handy. Every time since then, I have worn my clergy collar, and every time since then, someone has stopped to talk or to ask for prayer. Consider whether your appearance is sending a clear, inviting message.

2.Create the right sign.My sign is made up of two words that can be seen from across a coffee shop: “Free Prayer.” Underneath, in smaller print, is the Luther quote, which adds some commentary to what kind of prayer I might be offering: Not the proselytizing kind. Not the judging kind. Not the charismatic kind. The comforting and inviting kind -- “Pray, and let God worry.”

3.Make use of social media.Every time I set up for free prayer, I take a picture and post it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #freeprayer. Digital prayer requests often pour in. Friends and parishioners share or like the posts. And some folks will ask when I’ll be out next, because they would like to meet.

4.The first time is the hardest.I recall how nervous and awkward I felt when I first set up my sign. Let’s face it: it’s kind of weird. But it is worth it. People will look at you and smile. People will tell you that they are Christian, too, and have said their prayers already that morning. People will say it’s a great idea. And someone will stop and ask for prayer, making it instantly worth those fleeting moments of awkwardness. And no, I have never been yelled at or asked to leave. Both a store owner and a store manager have come and asked for prayer themselves.

5.Let me know if you’d like a sign!As coffee shops pop up and churches close down around the country, I think much could be changed if spiritual leaders could be found in every town offering free prayer. I can only imagine what God could do with hundreds or thousands of these signs. To that end, the stellar crafter at my church who made the sign for me has offered to make more. We’re hoping the idea (and therefore the prayer) will spread.
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I have been involved in a different kind of ministry, but that also offers to pray with people. Amazing the number of people - complete strangers - who are delighted to be prayed for.
Staff Member

Maybe you can explain how you wind up praying for people in the ministry that you do. Sometimes realizing that there are many ways in which we can touch people through prayer, can open a door for someone reading the post that they might not have consider before.

I am glad you enjoyed this. Thank you for sharing.
It's a movement mainly in the uk called Street Pastors. I'm not involved at the moment. Street pastors are uniformed nightime patrols in town and city centres. It's about caring listening and helping people. That can range from giving practical help to people who have drunk too much, or are in trouble to just being friendly and softening the atmosphere of the night-time environment.

Whenever we have an encounter with someone we offer to pray. Almost everybody accepts gladly.

So the set up is very different to the OP, but the basic idea - make yourself available and let God work - is similar

There's a clip of a tv news item here
Staff Member

Thank-you for sharing my brother! Alleluia! We give God all the Praise and Glory!

Luke 14:23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.

We are to go everywhere and this is a perfect example of that.
Staff Member

before reading this thread I was thinking about 'what is our part in filling up that which remains. Tarrying until the LORD returns'.

Jesus started a 'movement' all about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. He left that 'mission' with the twelve and then Paul, who joined later, who wrote,"... Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:" Colossians 1:24
which follows, "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;" Colossians 1:23

Thank you for sharing this and may it bear fruit.

Please readers, remember the suggestion to contact fellow member, robaston , if you feel so lead to do so.

Freely we have received... so let us freely give.

Bless you ....><>