GOLIAD – Four weeks ago, Pastor Ray Carter had an idea.
“I wanted to get people more involved in prayer,”said Carter, pastor of Redeemed Christian Church of God Kingdom Connection Chapel. “When I was living in Beeville, we prayed a lot, and we saw God moving in Beeville.”
He hopes to bring that to Goliad by inviting everyone, of every denomination, to the courthouse square every Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
“I want people to understand the power of prayer and especially prayer organized the way God wants us to pray.”
Only a handful of people attended the first week. By the third and fourth week, attendance had grown to 10.
“We are getting a few more every week,” Carter said. “Some of those attending are from our church.”
But a majority are from the community.
“Everybody is just now getting the news,” Carter said. “Hopefully people who believe in God and the power of prayer will respond to it.”
He hopes that by having this community prayer event downtown, it will make those from other churches feel comfortable.
“The square is the heart of the town,” he said. “We wanted to have a place to anchor from. But I wanted to get outside the walls of the church.
“Sometimes we call it ‘prayer without walls’. ”
He hopes that this will draw people in who might otherwise shy away from the church setting.
“We are all just Christians and trying to reach Heaven,” he said.
Raymond Galvan, one of those on the square Thursday, June 11, added, “If people can get together to protest, why can’t they get together and pray.”
This idea of praying outside is one familiar to Carter as the Goliad chapel of the Redeemed Christian Church of God doesn’t yet have a building. Instead, they worship some inside the housing authority building. With the restriction of COVID-19, they have turned more frequently to the parks.
With a congregation nearing 40 members, he hopes the church will continue its growth and eventually have its own building.
“Too many churches are growing in numbers, but they are not effective in their communities,” Carter said. “I like that the people I am with are concerned about their neighbors. They are concerned about helping them live godly lives.
“Prayer is the key. Most people believe in God, but they don’t understand that he works through prayer.”
While the Thursday prayers didn’t start because of the recent protests, the events are not something that are being ignored.
“We are protesting now, but protesting now doesn’t move the needle,” he said. “Peoples’ hearts have to change.
“If peoples’ hearts don’t change, they are going to continue to do the things they are doing.”
Only through prayer, he said, will things get better.
“According to Jesus, prayer is essential to the success of Christianity and having God intervene, and yet our churches have turned away from it.
“I know we are a small dot on the map and a small number of people, but God always started with a small number of people and did great things with them.
“I do believe, with God’s help we can ignite something.”
Jason Collins is the editor at the Goliad Advance-Guard and can be reached at 361-343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com.