If ever there was an Easter when prayers are needed, it’s 2021. While the vaccination process has begun, people the word over are still reeling from the devastating impacts of COVID-19.
The past year has brought many losses that only time, and for the spiritually inclined, the power of prayer, can heal: the loss of a sense of safety, the loss of businesses and the loss of loved ones.
With concerns regarding the safety of congregating in close quarters lingering in the minds of many churchgoers, the First Presbyterian Church of West Plains began looking for a solution for those seeking prayers, but who are not quite ready to gather in the sanctuary.
After a great deal of discussion among the church elders, the Prayer Wall was born.
“We wanted something that was available to anyone in the community looking for prayer, not just those who worship with us,” said church elder Sylvia Hershenson. “Obviously we could have set up an email system, but we wanted something people could touch. It makes it feel more real that way.”
Local artist David Crites made the Prayer Wall at the church’s direction, and it was placed in front of the building on Aid Avenue for all to see. Pens and colorful paper are available in the cubicles forming the wall.
Church officials encourage everyone in the community to write a prayer, fold it up, and place it in the wall. Prayers will not be read, but burned at the Easter service on Sunday. The smoke will symbolize the lifting of the prayers to God.
First Presbyterian is located at 112 Aid Ave., and prayers may be placed in the wall until Saturday.
Many members of the Presbyterian Church have expressed the sentiment that it is more important now than ever that churches step forward to take an active role in helping to heal their communities.
For Christians, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after the crucifixion, nearly 2000 years ago. Perhaps Easter 2021 will come to represent the resurrection of humanity, not from the grip of the grave, but from the darkness of a pandemic.