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Forty days of prayer produce unity and miracles

Forty days of prayer produce unity and miracles

Leadership Worship
Luanne Hunter, Assistant Pastor, Jim Govatos, Lead Pastor, and Rebecca DeFrank volunteer coordinator - showing materials from the 40 Days of Prayer series

In early October, after completing a church-wide intensive study of Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Prayer, members at Deer Lake UMC in Tallahassee completed their journey with a 24-hour prayer vigil followed by a pot luck feast.

On Sunday, during the worship services, members shared testimonials. They spoke about miracles observed, prayers answered and the personal growth they experienced within their small groups, families and as a church.
Members enjoy a pot luck feast following 24 hour prayer vigil.
During the 40 days, participants daily applied the principles of prayer taught in the series.

“It was really neat to see people using the materials from the class and really sharing prayer requests and praying for each other,” Assistant Pastor Luanne Hunter said.

“Pastor (Jim) Govatos often says that prayer is the life-blood of any congregation, of any church, so to have the whole church family on the same page about prayer was a powerful time for us as a church.”

Out of the 300 parishioners who regularly attend Sunday services, 240 members participated in the study series. Also, 207 of those members studied and shared prayer requests within small groups.

“The children and youth had their own small groups on Wednesday nights,” Hunter said. “They made prayer journals and a prayer wall from prayers that they wrote on sticky notes and cards each week.

“They had their own children’s programs every Sunday, so they learned about prayer together. So, this really was a church-wide campaign. Even our preschoolers were doing it.”

Rebecca DeFrank and her husband, Paul DeFrank, coordinated the campaign.

“It was so special to see the whole church involved. We saw a lot of unity.” Rebecca DeFrank said.

“The weekly sermons, small group discussions and children’s lessons followed the 40 Days of Prayer lessons, and it all tied together; it created a lot of opportunity within families for discussion.”

Soon after the church began the study, members began to experience miracles, both small and large.

Sylvia Carver, the Children’s Ministry Director, spoke about Trace, a young boy who was experiencing significant medical challenges.
40 Days of Prayer kids prayer journals.
“The children were praying for Trace and were so happy when he began to improve,” Carver said.

Pastor Hunter spoke of a couple who had experienced several lost pregnancies.

“During the testimonials, they shared that they are pregnant again. Other couples who have divorced have begun to return to church together,” Hunter said.

Rebecca DeFrank said that within three weeks after starting her walk through 40 Days of Prayer, she experienced “one of those miracles that are so big, only God can make it happen.”

“My doctor, who had previously told me that he didn’t know of anything more he could do to help restore my vision, found drops for my eyes,” she said. “The medicine is made in Albany, Georgia! I could feel a difference almost immediately. It has restored my sight enough that now I am well within the legal limits to drive again.”

DeFrank, Hunter and Carver each expressed that the unity that developed during this church-wide campaign spread blessings throughout the congregation and beyond the borders of their church walls.

“When our daily focus is on how much God loves us,” Rebecca DeFrank said, “it can’t help but spill over into how we treat each other at home and out in the world.”

—Sarah Hundley is a freelance writer from Tallahassee.