The Sanctuary church’s Christmas Prayer Wall — even larger than the previous 10-foot high, 30-foot-long version of 2020 — has returned to its place on the church lawn at 3939 Central Ave. in Columbus to give people an outlet for spiritual help.
“People certainly are looking for hope,” said the Rev. Matthew Johnson, senior pastor of The Sanctuary. “That’s the big word — hope.”
So he is inviting people to anonymously post prayer requests on the wall from now through Christmas.
Johnson mentioned that he believes that the power of prayer changes people and situations. He included an anecdote about an area youngster whom doctors said was dying last Christmas season, and was included on the prayer wall in a brief description and photo.
The youngster, Johnson said, is now “doing much better.”
Johnson pointed out that the church’s initial Facebook post about the wall last year drew the most reaction of any Sanctuary post all of last year.
“So it definitely struck a nerve,” Johnson said. “I don’t think that there’s been anything like this here. So, it’s something new.
“You drive by at 10 o’clock at night and you see someone standing there — someone not from the church, but from the community.”
This year’s wall is slightly more stable than last year’s version since strong winds last year blew it over a couple of times.
The pastor believes the wall can help the community stand together.
“As we rally together as a community — not just our church, but the entire Christian body of believers — I believe that we can see miracles,” Johnson said.
The clergyman last year emphasized that he has seen the power of prayer change situations ever since his twin brother was diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome at age 6 in their hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. By the time doctors treated him, physicians told the family that the child may have only 24 hours to live.
So Johnson’s mother began passionately praying. And the youngster was healed the following day and lived.