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Drive-thru Prayer

August 19, 2010

(AP Photo/Adam Lau)


by Nardine Saad

LOMA LINDA — Joyce Kim needed a sign to remind her to pray.

She found it a few months ago along a stretch of rural road where she and hundreds of other Southern California commuters drive home every day.

A 4-foot placard reads “Need Prayer?” Shawn Heggi, a self-appointed Christian spiritual counselor, sits in a blue tent in the field nearby.

Now Kim tries to stop every Friday to pray with Heggi, 35, and two of his friends. They pray for a solution to Kim’s financial troubles, the domestic violence victims she works with and the medical career she put on hold during her mother’s 11-year battle with ovarian cancer.

“I go to church when I can, but that’s on a set time,” Kim said. “There may be times when I don’t have time to go to church. This is just open, it’s free, it’s available for anybody, so I stop as often I can, when I can.”

Heggi’s unconventional ministry caters to worshippers on the go, strategically placed near a traffic-heavy intersection and two hospitals. It offers a more convenient venue to pray than an institutionalized church setting, especially in an era when church attendance is shrinking, said Richard Flory, senior research associate at University of Southern California’s Center for Religion & Civic Culture.

“People can stop by and unload what they have and it keeps them from having to go to church,” he said. “It’s 20 minutes and you go away. There’s no long-term commitment.”

You can read the rest of the story here

I’m actually not sure how I feel about this one. Quirky Americanism or cheap faith? I mean, if we’re honest, isn’t she spending more time praying with each person than we do at church where we usually respond with “I’m really sorry to hear that. I will definitely be praying for you.” And then more often than not we don’t…..

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Wes permalink*
    August 19, 2010 10:55 am

    I don’t think I have a problem with this one (although it does sound strange).

    Many American churches are so inwardly focused that the idea of going out and serving others seems like a foreign concept.

    I may not be crazy about their techniques, but they’re doing something…

  2. Josh permalink
    August 19, 2010 11:32 am

    I don’t think I have a problem with it either. It sounds kind of cheap on the surface of “drive-through prayer,” but like you said there’s probably more prayer going on here than at a lot of churches. It seems like even though it’s a quick little thing, it’s making the people who stop for prayer feel better, cultivating relationships between people, and doing actual prayer. I especially like the fact that they’re not offering “a solution to all your problems” or “success and wealth through prayer” but instead just asking people if they need prayer and letting them stop and pray if they want to.

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