From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Florida church launches statewide 'circuit ride of prayer'

Date 12 Feb 2001 14:41:57

Feb. 12, 2001       News media contact: Tim Tanton·(615)742-5470·Nashville,
Tenn.     10-21-71B{072}

By Michael Wacht*
PALM BAY, Fla. (UMNS) -- Members of Fellowship United Methodist Church plan
to begin an unusual circuit ride of prayer around their state in April. 

It's unusual because neither they nor their pastor will be making the ride
themselves. Instead, they will send two prayer journals on a journey of
nearly 54,000 square miles through a project called the "Circuit Ride for
the New Millennium."
The Rev. Deborah Mak, Fellowship's pastor, said the idea came from a church
Bible study group that was reading a book by the Rev. Terry Teykl, a United
Methodist elder from Texas and full-time prayer evangelist. Teykl wrote
about a group of pastors in Arizona who drove around the state praying for
"Someone said, 'That would be good for our state,' " Mak said. "I told them
that if this church did it, that would mean their pastor would be gone for a
long time."
The idea evolved into a traveling prayer journal that would start at
Fellowship Church. Members would write their prayers in the journal, then
send it to the next church. Each church along the way would celebrate the
journal, reading and praying for other churches' requests, add its own
prayers and carry the book to the next location.
Thirty-one churches "from Madison to Marathon" answered the initial
invitation to be involved, Mak said. The greatest concentration of churches
is in the Jacksonville area.
Tracking the responses on a large map in the narthex of the church, Mak said
she realized they would need two journals to cover the state without asking
anyone to drive for most of a day to reach the next location.
The goal of the circuit ride is to prepare the state for a massive
evangelistic effort.
"Prayer is evangelism, and evangelism without prayer doesn't work," Mak
said. "We need to establish a foundation of prayer, beyond our church, our
districts and even our denomination. Christians must commit to prayer to
soften the hearts of nonbelievers and prepare believers for Christian
The Rev. Waite Willis, a United Methodist elder and professor at Florida
Southern College in Lakeland, asked Mak if she had any plans to follow up
the Circuit Ride with "concrete missional opportunities to get the
The Circuit Ride is intended to help people and churches "access the will of
God for our church through prayer," Mak said. Members of her church have
already started exploring Celebrate Jesus and Faith Sharing training as
mission opportunities. Celebrate Jesus is a Florida-based organization that
helps churches organize one-week Celebrate Jesus evangelism ministries as a
means of training and motivating them to do their own evangelism. Faith
Sharing is a personal evangelism system illustrated by the Revs. Eddie Fox
and George Morris in their book, Faith Sharing.
"It's equipping the people here to reach out," Mak said. "People don't feel
prepared to reach out, and prayer is essential for that."
# # #

*Wacht is the assistant editor of the Florida Annual Conference's edition of
the United Methodist Review.

United Methodist News Service
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