Group's website focuses on connecting with prayer


Coweta County resident John Roland has launched a website with lots of insights and resources related to prayer.

By JOHN A. WINTERS Helping others learn to pray -- and to discover the power of prayer -- is the focus of a new website devoted exclusively to the subject. Launched this summer, the website, , is chock full of every aspect and subject relating to prayer. And it's a user-generated site, where people can not only ask for prayer but submit their own prayers and prayer-related articles.
"Our goal is to encourage and increase Christian prayer, empowering us to become closer to God and to each other," said John Roland, who serves as executive director of Prayer Igniters International, the umbrella organization that oversees the prayer website. Roland lives in Newnan and is an ordained minister. Most recently, he was the senior district executive with the Boy Scouts of America for Coweta County. The idea was started by Karen Barber, a 20-plus year contributing editor with Guideposts magazine. She is the author of two books on prayer -- "Ready, Set ... Wait," published in 1996, and "Surprised by Prayer," published in 2001. The latest website is an offshoot of yet another one, , also known as Operation Deployment Inspiration. When Barber's son, a captain with the 82nd Airborne, was stationed in Iraq, he asked his mom for some prayers for he and his men. Barber started to do so back in 2009, but was soon running out of ideas. She then turned to others for help, and the site has exploded since. The mission of Deployment Inspiration, taken from the website: "To provide short prayers, devotions and scripture passages suitable for our military men and women in combat zones to use as prayers of protection, strength, courage, guidance and wisdom when going out on daily missions." The goal of the Prayer Ideas site is to mirror the concepts of the military site, but also add resources and forums. Basically, one could call it a civilian version. "Karen's (Barber) vision is to take us further in our prayer lives," Roland said. "She wanted to start an organization that helps people really learn how to pray." Part of that outreach is to start having prayer seminars in churches, where members can join together and grow in their prayer life. The organization also looks forward to a day when they have "prayer mission trips," similar in style to church youth mission trips. The site offers free, user-generated resources and ideas on all aspects of prayer. One main section -- How To Pray -- offers articles on such topics as: creating prayer places, Jesus on prayer, meditation, parts of prayer, prayer lifestyle, ways to pray, and prayer scriptures. Another section, titled Praying for Needs, includes topics ranging from divorce to dealing with the death of a child to Alzheimer's to job searching. And yet another section lists various books, articles, DVDs and other items available on prayer. The Life Forums section offers visitors the opportunity to post comments and get to know others on the community boards. "We'd love for people to get on the forums and interact with each other," Roland said. "It's an opportunity to just grow and share." Roland said the site is growing daily, with more than 14,000 post views on the Prayer Igniters Facebook page last month. That site now has more than 1,400 active users. "We're not trying to make money, but to ignite prayer and help people find the power of prayer," he added. "We want to help them in their spiritual disciplines."

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