The Estero United Methodist Church has started offering drive-thru prayer services on Wednesdays to motorists along U.S. 41. Members of the church line up alongside the road wearing orange safety vests and offer their services free of charge.
“The idea behind drive-thru prayer is to offer spiritual support to folks not attached to our church community,” John Halley, the church’s director of discipleship, told the Naples Daily News. “We’re on a visible part of U.S. 41, and this is one way to put ourselves out there and to give folks the opportunity to come by and receive the blessing of prayer.”
The 30-year-old said the free service is not intended to boost enrollment at the church.
“It’s not a church-growth strategy for us; it’s really just an outreach to share God’s love with our community,” he said. “Our group has been out (here) five weeks now and in terms of people stopping (to pray), we might get five or six one week, three another week; a couple weeks we didn’t get anyone.”
In addition to Fort Lauderdale, also in Florida, residents in Arizona, Massachusetts and Idaho have been blessed with similar services in the past. The locals are grateful the convenient service has come their way.
“I saw the signs and, honestly, right now I’m going through some trials and tribulations,” said Estero resident Nick Nataro. “It seemed to be the Lord speaking to me and saying, ‘Hey, it’s been a while. Come on in and get a blessing.’”
“I’m at the end of my rope and I don’t know what else to do,” added Adam Loshbaugh of Bonita Springs. “It’s hard to make it, and I can’t support my family the way I want to. (Praying here tonight has) given us hope.”
[Naples Daily News]
[Estero United Methodist Church]