SPRING HILL — The words painted on the outside of the 36-foot blue Winnebago motor coach, "Changing Our World Through Prayer," and the words over the windshield, "Kneels on Wheels," testify to the vehicle's purpose: providing a quiet place for prayer.
With that mission in mind, the Central Florida District of the Church of the Nazarene commissioned the vehicle in 2006 to travel to the nearly 90 churches in its district for two- or three-day visits to encourage members to pray. They dubbed it the Team Central Mobile Prayer Chapel.
Inside the chapel, there are five prayer stations with kneeling rails. Television screens display Bible verses and play
For those who would like them, there are prayers guides and lists of prayer needs available.
The ministry on wheels has visited Calvary Church of the Nazarene on Cobblestone Drive three times since it took to the road. Children's pastor Alicia Thompson arranged for it to be on-site for special church events that are open to the public as well. She has even taken the mobile chapel off-site to a local restaurant to make it available to the community.
"People want to know that God still cares and that he is still faithful when we humble ourselves to him," Thompson said about the opportunity for people to use the chapel for prayer. "Humility isn't an easy thing, and sometimes it takes somebody helping us."
On Feb. 29, Team Central Nazarenes began a 60-day prayer and fasting initiative that includes all of the churches in its Central Florida district. The goal is to have a continuous, unbroken chain of prayer for 60 days with each church committing to a 24- or 48-hour period of intercession. Many of them will have the Mobile Prayer Chapel on their campus to encourage members to participate in the vigil.
Brooksville Church of the Nazarene and Spring Hill First Church of the Nazarene will take part in the prayer and fasting event next week, each playing host to the Mobile Prayer Chapel.
Calvary Church of the Nazarene will support the effort with a 24-hour vigil beginning Friday evening. Associate Pastor Thad Haynes is coordinating the event.
"Our church is in the middle of a campaign where we are seeking the face of God and his direction for the future of our church," Haynes said. "We are emphasizing prayer and fasting during the entire Palm Sunday weekend."
He said that along with prayers for the church, community and country, a team has been calling all of Calvary's members to get specific prayer requests.
"We're also trying to seek direction on the future of our church and about adding on to our current facilities," he said. "Those are the primary focuses of the weekend."
Haynes said the Nazarene district superintendent, the Rev. Larry Dennis, will address the subject of prayer at the church's 10:40 a.m. and 6 p.m. services on Palm Sunday.
The mobile prayer center will be at Calvary from Friday through Sunday and will be open for public use from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 p.m. Saturday.
"It's neat because visitors don't have to go into the sanctuary and feel out of place," Thompson said. "It's outside and it's air-conditioned. Prayer is so powerful. It seems to bring the greatest miracles every time we have it parked at our church. We hope our neighborhood will want to come and hear what God has to say to them."
Another part of the church's community outreach effort next weekend will be the Jerusalem Village, which will be open between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
"The Jerusalem Village is a free modified Easter egg hunt with a twist," Thompson explained. "This is an outside family event, which lets families experience the resurrection story as told to them by Roman guards and villagers. The children (who attend) will taste, smell and hear the true meaning of Easter."
Village events include music, a petting zoo with pony rides and tours where children can collect eggs and coins to be redeemed for candy and prizes.