First UMC Sebring has joined an international prayer mission.
Members transformed what once was a custodian’s junk room into the only permanent Florida location of a ministry known as 24-7 Prayer International. This was made possible in part by a spiritual formation grant from the Ware Trust of the Ware Family Foundation.
|Alison Juliano and her children interact with the prayer room's resources.|
Senior Pastor David Juliano and his wife, Alison, spearheaded the drive to create this unique non-stop prayer meeting which ultimately will serve the community at large, not just the church.
“I read about the movement (24-7 Prayer) last summer in a book by its founder Peter Greig called ‘Dirty Glory’ and I was really inspired,” David Juliano said.
He specifically outlined plans for the prayer room in the application for the grant, which brought $1,500 to the church.
24-7 Prayer began in 1997 as a student-led prayer vigil in England and has spread to an estimated half the nations of the world. It is a prayer mission for justice that has continued non-stop throughout this century.
Alison Juliano said her favorite feature about the room is a prayer wall, which will allow people to use tags or pins to attach their prayers to the wall.
There also is space for tags listing answered prayers, and a chalk board available for people to write names of people who need Jesus. Rustic wooden signs, such as those popular now for home décor, adorn the walls. Muted lighting, candles and diffusers add to the serene atmosphere.
The 24-7 Prayer group offers several sources of information, including an introductory guide, individual support and downloadable information. Inspiring features include art, journaling Bibles, scripture coloring books, post it notes, music and a kneeler with crosses.
“This room is meant to encourage people to pray and to offer them different ways to pray,” David Juliano said. “Prayer can be hard, so we plan to make it as easy as possible.”
The prayer room was dedicated on Palm Sunday, March 25. Church members signed up to be attendants in the room, each to pray for an hour a day.
“We are making this resource available to our own, but my hope is to expand and become a resource for the whole community,” said David Juliano said. “It’s exciting that this will be a permanent room with a dedicated purpose.”
The Spiritual Foundation Ministry of the Florida Conference disperses funds from the Ware Trust for ministries that reflect spiritual formation or other initiatives. The formative experience enables people to more closely follow the leading of the Holy Spirit through the practice of intentional disciplines such as prayer and fasting.
--Anne Dukes is a freelance writer based in Atlanta.