A few months ago just after the COVID-19 pandemic began, Kristin Molitor was driving through Avon when she saw a couple of women offering prayers in front of the Avon Community Church. Something inspired her to turn around and go back.
“It was definitely a movement of the Holy Spirit,” Molitor said. “It was very far out of my comfort zone to stop.”
She was immediately welcomed by the women, who prayed with her while she remained in her car. Molitor, who serves as the New Evangelization coordinator for Two Rivers Catholic Community, was intrigued. She brought the idea back to her parishes — All Saints in Holdingford, Immaculate Conception in St. Anna and St. Columbkille in St. Wendel — where the idea was well-received.
In just a few short weeks, their group had signs printed to instruct prayer-goers where to pull up along the curbside. On June 30 they kicked off their first attempt to pray with people from their communities or with those just passing through.
While one team stays outside praying along the curb with anyone who drives up, another group holds posts inside the church, interceding for both the prayer team and the people who received a blessing. A runner brings special intentions from the curb to the church.
“We believe that God is bringing all of us together — the women praying, the women from the Avon church, the women interceding. God has a mission and plan for each one. He’s called each one to bring the Good News,” she said.
Melissa Walz, a teacher by trade, said it was the perfect opportunity for her during the summer.
“What a wonderful idea. We all have things we pray for but wouldn’t it be great to pray with each other?” she said. “I teach during the school year, but this is something I could do. I do think we need to step up and evangelize, to let people know we are here, and that Christ is working through us. Hopefully, just by our presence, people will see that God loves them and is at work in the world.”
In addition to the honks, waves and thumbs-up from passing vehicles, members of the Avon Community Church showed up to offer their support to the Two Rivers group on their maiden voyage. Melanie Ebnet explained how their church first came up with the idea.
“With the COVID pandemic, we saw that restaurants were having curbside service and we thought why couldn’t we put together a group of prayer warriors who could offer drive-thru prayer?” she said.
The Avon group has been offering drive-thru prayer twice a week since March. Most of the people who drive up are people they don’t know. They have heard stories from people who stopped by for reasons they could not explain.
“It’s just been a real blessing,” Ebnet said.
Amy and Marvin Eiynck, members of Immaculate Conception in St. Anna, pulled up in their pickup to ask for prayers for peace around the world.
“It was so worth coming,” Amy said. “It was very uplifting.”
“Very personal,” Marvin added.
Two more dates are planned: July 14 and July 28 on River Street in Holdingford. All are welcome to drive up. Participants can opt to receive words of blessing and encouragement or can ask for special prayer intentions. The prayer team will approach the vehicle, ask what the occupant(s) wish to pray for and then pray with attendees.
“During this time of social distancing and isolation, we want people to know that Jesus remains close to them,” Molitor said. “He’s not an abstract idea or a lofty thought, but a person who is deeply interested in them and cares about the burdens they carry. I believe each person who came to pray with us today was sent to us by God and we desire to be his smile and to speak his words of hope and encouragement to each person he sends.”