By LINDA M. LINONIS
Doris Justice credits prayer with getting her through difficult times in her life and comforting her every day.
She wanted to share the power of prayer with others but said she understood that some people are shy or intimidated by a church setting.
“The Lord showed me in Revelation 3:8,” she said. “Prayer is my passion.”
The Bible passage mentions an “open door,” and the Rev. Jack Pettis of Mount Zion Baptist Church suggested that phrase for the name of Justice’s prayer room. Justice attends Mount Zion.
The Rev. Mr. Pettis conducted a dedication of the prayer room Aug. 4.
“Her vision was to have a place for people to pray ... on the side of the road,” the pastor said. “It sounded like a good idea.”
Through effort and dedication, Justice acquired property at 628 Oak Hill Ave. On it now sets a 10-by-16-foot structure, which could be used as a tool or garden shed at someone’s home. Justice has turned it into a place for prayer and Bible study.
“I wanted to be on a main road,” she said.
Justice said a son, Jerome V. Justice, helped out by painting and putting up a cross that overlooks the building.
Other volunteers also assisted to get the little building ready.
Inspirational signs are scattered around the interior while a sign outside identifies it as Open Door and Doris Justice Ministries.
This is not her first effort at outreach; Christian Women United was another from 1978-84.
Over the years, she has helped the poor, elderly and children in different ways.
She’s cooked multiple turkeys for Thanskgiving and given them to needy families and at Chrismas she has given away hundreds of dolls to children and gifts to the elderly.
A friend since 1973, Ethel Nelson, who was visiting the Open Door, said Justice has always had “a heart for helping people.”
“I wanted to stay busy,” she said.
She said she and her late husband, Robert, traveled around the country because he was in the U.S. Navy. He died in 1975.
As Justice was proceeding with this project, she said people questioned whether she was starting a church.
“I’m a teacher, not a pastor,” Justice would tell them.
Mr. Pettis said Justice has a “willing spirit” and is helping the community through prayer. He said she is a “witness to the way,” that is, a reference to early Christians.
The pastor said in the Baptist tradition “prayer is the key and faith unlocks the door.”
He noted that in the early 1990s, there was a prayer movement spurred by Baptist ministers in the Valley.
Justice said the prayer ministry is “what God gave me to do.”
She added that she hoped it “makes a difference.”
Justice said she prays for the city and its residents.
“God will send them to me,” she said of people who stop to pray.
Another son, Ronald Justice, is involved in her ministry.
He admitted that “devils and demons” of drugs consumed his life when he was younger.
Violence in the form of a shooting took away his sight.
Intense prayer by his mother and his participation finally led to change.