Nearly nine years after it began, regular prayer meetings at a Missouri church are still going strong, in spite of COVID-19.
The Caruthersville Wesleyan Church (CWC) in Caruthersville, Missouri, began its Tuesday night prayer meeting on September 13, 2011, spurred on after completing a church-wide study on “When God’s People Pray” by Jim Cymbala.
“It was during this study that God spoke clearly to us and called us to begin this prayer ministry,” said Rev. Kenny Lee, who leads CWC, a church of around 90 in attendance.
Before COVID-19 hit, a small group from the congregation met every Tuesday evening to pray. Most of the prayer requests are communicated via social media.
Every Tuesday, Lee posts on Facebook “Caruthersville Wesleyan Church Tuesday night prayer meeting is tonight at 7:00! May we pray for you?”
“The response to the prayer time has been very positive,” said Lee. “We receive approximately 100 requests every week.” Every prayer request is prayed over.
Caruthersville Wesleyan Church is known in the community as a church that prays, and Lee and those who meet want to honor those asking for prayer “because so many people depend on our prayers for them.” Lee knows this ministry is touching the lives of people who’ve never even attended CWC. And the answered prayers encourage the group to keep praying faithfully.
One such story involves a young man who had been connected to CWC but never really attended regularly. The group prayed for him for months, that he would place his faith in Jesus. The young man began attending again and responded to the gospel, asking Jesus into his heart. He and his wife were baptized soon after.
Every name is put on a list and every need prayed for. The church also sends greeting cards to encourage those whom they are praying for. Caruthersville is a small town of 6,200 in southeast Missouri. A part of Pemiscot County, Caruthersville is in the poorest county in the state. There is much poverty in this predominantly agricultural community. Lee said, “many people in our community are in situations where they desire to be prayed for.” The group has learned of many who were in need of healing and have experienced healing.
One CWC member who attends the prayer meeting teaches in the local school system. Every week, she would arrive to pray with a list of requests and needs from coworkers and students.
Since COVID-19 hit and hampered the ability for churches in Missouri to meet, the prayer meeting has been happening over Facebook Live. The group has since engaged in both types of prayer meetings with churches opening up again: prayer time is being hosted on Facebook and in the church.
“More people are joining us each Tuesday, and it [our online prayer meeting] has been received well,” said Lee, who estimates that around 40 people are engaged with prayer during the Tuesday meetings. “In fact, we may keep it on Facebook permanently. We see it as a ministry to encourage and help people get through these difficult times. People are very open to being prayed for at this time, and a lot of people are expressing their appreciation.”
The big prayers of this small, faithful group are making a huge difference in their community.
“There is no doubt that God has blessed our church because of our obedience to begin this ministry,” said Lee.
“The Tuesday evening prayer meeting is in the heart and soul of Pastor Kenny and his church,” said Rev. Devon Smith, district superintendent of the Tri-State District. “One visit to the community and you will find out that Caruthersville Wesleyan Church is known around town as the church the prays. The community has witnessed firsthand the move of God through a faithful group of believers who prays for them. The church has become a testimony to God who cares and is ever present and actively working in and through the community!”