Members of Countryside Community Church, 14011 Orchard Dr., Clarks Summit, recently completed inside a special room off the church’s sanctuary a stone prayer wall, much like the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
The size and shape of a small fireplace, the wall sits under a golden cross, and small slips of paper stick out from between the stones. Congregants write their prayers on the papers, fold them and place them in the wall, kneeling on a small stand in front of it to pray.
The mission statement for the prayer wall, according to Prayer Works Team Chairwoman Helen Herne, is “To model, teach, witness, promote and help others to develop a deeper relationship with God through prayer.”
A pamphlet published by the church about the prayer wall states, “This wall is placed here in the tradition of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, which is a remnant of the retaining wall for the plaza surrounding the Temple that stood there during the time of Jesus…To this day people have come to that wall to pray and to tuck their written prayers in the cracks between the stones. Visitors there total nearly 10 million per year.”
According to Herne, just as the prayers tucked into the stones in Jerusalem are left unread, those in the wall at Countryside Community Church are not read by anyone but God. At least twice a year, the prayers will be removed and burned.
Herne said the church’s prayer wall started as a small idea and morphed into what it is today through the hard work and donations of the entire congregation. The church also has plans to build a prayer garden on its property this spring along with a prayer path. They hope to eventually build the path to lead to a labyrinth in the woods.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Herne said, “but we know God is with us.”
Prayer Works Team member Betty Mears added, “We feel very supported by the prayers of the people in the church.”
The prayer room is open whenever the church is open, which generally includes weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday mornings at the start of the services until about 1 p.m.