By LINDA M. LINONIS
Trumbull County Prayer Movement has taken a vision of “a place of night- and-day prayer” to reality.
The Community Prayer Room, 279 W. Market St., will start out with a few hours of prayer weekly, building up to 24/7 prayer. A grand opening in July will mark the 24/7 goal.
Pastor Dan Barker of Cortland Trinity Baptist Church and Vincent Stigliano, prayer-room coordinator, recently discussed the evolution of the prayer room.
Stigliano said he and his wife, Cheryl, members of Niles Christian Assembly, visited Wilmington House of Prayer (www.wilmingtonhop.com) in Wilmington, Ohio, during 2011. The prayer room, which opened in 2009, followed on the heels of the devastasting loss of some 8,000 jobs at an international freight company there.
Stigliano said church, community and government leaders were involved and motivated by what had happened. “I thought the same thing was needed in Trumbull County,” he said.
In the meantime, Pastor Barker said TC Prayer Movement participants began to realize “God wanted a prayer room.” Shortly afterward, Stigliano contacted the pastor, told him about Wilmington House of Prayer and suggested a prayer room in Trumbull County.
“I felt it was divine confirmation,” Pastor Barker said.
What the group needed was divine intervention to find a suitable place after scouting many sites. The 18th place they visited was it. “It was usable,” Stigliano said, but also needed work to get it in shape.
Pastor Barker said prayer-movement participants thought a site downtown near the courthouse would be visible and accessible. A storefront in the Reeves apartment building across from the SCOPE office was rented. Volunteers came forth to get the room in shape in the building that dates to 1914.
Pastor Barker said the prayer room takes its cue from Scripture: “For My House will be called a House of Prayer for all nations” from Isaiah 56:7. He said prayer rooms abound in Indonesia and Africa but are not common in the United States.
Pastor Barker said the prayer room will feature four boards listing prayer requests under various themes including community, leadership, government and education. Themes may change as needed.
Stigliano said from his experience as a social worker and being involved in volunteer projects, he estimates about 150 volunteers are needed to make the 24/7 prayer room a reality. “We’ll have two people at a time here,” he said.
People praying will be able to use printed prayers such as the St. Francis of Assisi prayer, which reads in part,
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.”
Stigliano said people also can pray in their own words.
Luckily, the TC Prayer Movement already is in place, and participants are likely to support the prayer room. Prayer groups meeting elsewhere are invited to be part of the prayer room.
Stigliano said potential volunteers may contact him at 330-369-2013 or visit the website at www.tcprayermovement.com. Donations to help with rent and utilities are being accepted.
The Valley effort, Pastor Barker said, “is part of the global prayer movement.”
“I believe prayer changes hearts, he added. “Humble, unified prayer will be heard by God.”