The idea of a church prayer group is not new, but the gathering at Clinton Avenue Reformed Church looks a little different.
Every Monday evening at 8:30, members and friends of Clinton Avenue Reformed Church in Bergenfield, New Jersey, gather for prayer. The idea of a church prayer group is not new, but Clinton Avenue’s gathering looks a little different: the group meets online, via the free chat program Skype.
“The people who initially wished to start this prayer group were stretched for time to gather in the church, especially with work schedules,” says pastor Mark Ennis, who has led the group for the past four years. “Skype allows the group to happen without the commute and even when people are away.”
The unique format also makes it possible for people outside the church to join in. For a while, the group included a man from Vietnam, who found them via Facebook posts.
Ennis starts each prayer session with a Psalm, which he sends out in advance via email and Facebook. He says their prayer list has grown to include more than 90 people.
“All faithful prayer strengthens a congregation,” says Ennis. “In this case particularly, [meeting online] gives us a bridge to friends and relatives who are grateful for the prayers, but not currently participating in other ways in the congregation.”