The New Year’s Evening of Prayer
Grace Community Church (Grace Mills River- GMR) began a tradition of setting aside some specific time for prayer on New Year’s Eve in 1995 with the Youth Ministry. The first event was called “New Year’s Eve Prayer Walk” and took place in the rented upstairs space at the corner of Banner Farm Road and School House Road in Mills River NC before 495 Cardinal Road became our permanent home. The idea came from a labyrinth which was laid out in a large ball room at the Gospel Music Conference in Nashville Tennessee.
Simple “stations” were created by the Youth Group and parents so people could walk from one station to another quietly and at their own pace. Each station was designed to be interactive and incorporated a great deal of creativity. A specific Scripture or Bible story was featured and invited people to some reflection and responsive action. Participants could sit on the floor on throw pillows that everyone brought from home to quietly pray.
The Prayer Walk was so well received that it became a beloved tradition. Over the years, stations were added, rearranged and set aside for another year. Some years became quite elaborate as teams of youth and parents were assigned to design and host each station. Other years, the design and number of stations were few and simple. Originally the Prayer Walk was an all-night affair but was eventually shortened to end just after midnight so people could still “pray in” the New Year. Only a handful of New Year’s Eves were skipped due to some logistical, scheduling and weather-related challenges, however we have hosted 18 prayer walks so far, which we now call, “Evenings of Prayer.”
This year, our 19th annual event falls on a Sunday so we’re offering a prayer guide for you to use on your own or with others. We encourage you to invite others to join you as you pray in the New Year.