TULSA, Okla. — "This is weird. It's a weird idea; I've never seen anyone do that before, and why would people even do that?"
Jamie Sweeney is talking about the prayer box she put in front of her Tulsa home. It was the start of the pandemic when everyone was on lockdown. Jamie says the man above gave her the idea.
"You should go and put a box in your front yard, very visible," Sweeney said. "And ask people how you can pray for them."
Praying comes naturally for Sweeney. She's on staff at a local church and travels the world doing missions. And as she sometimes does, Sweeney said she ignored God's message for a few weeks.
"As I often do," Sweeney said. "I started arguing with him about it. We live in the back of a cul-de-sac, we get no pass-by traffic; this wouldn't work. Like, He doesn't know where we live, right?"
It turns out Sweeney said God was right. It did work.
Since the pandemic prevented her from traveling to others to pray with them, her prayer box brought people to her.
"I think it was the prime time to start something like this, and of course, He knows better than I do," she said. "So the timing was perfect."
Sweeney said a few weeks went by with no response.
"Every day, my new puppy and I would come out and check the box," she said. "Nothing."
But one day, Sweeney saw a slip of paper placed inside.
"I immediately burst into tears of joy."
Now, she gets prayer requests from all walks of life.
"They'll just park their car right in the middle of the cul-de-sac," she said. "They'll be sitting on the curb, writing furiously, wiping tears from their face, and I start praying for them right then."
Sweeney treasures every prayer request and continually prays over them. She said most Tulsans want her to pray for their family.
"(It's) either a health situation in their family or a relationship problem in their family."
Others asked her to pray for themselves or babies being born.
"We've had a few (requests) that someone is caught in a sin, and they ask us to pray for freedom," she said. "Those are heartbreaking."
Sweeney even receives updates. People return to the prayer box and write down the results.
"(They tell me) there's a healthy baby or a relationship is better," she said. "I love hearing the response and how that has come full circle."
All of this is done anonymously. Sweeney doesn't know any people, and they don't know who's praying for them.
"We don't plan to take it down anytime soon," she said. "We plan to leave it up, and if it blesses the neighborhood, then great because it's not about us."
Sweeney has a message for those in pain or struggling who can't make it to her prayer box:
"We're glad to do it, but I want to encourage people to pray themselves," she said. "If you don't know how to pray, just talk to him like he's your friend. Start there."
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