POULSBO – At Vinland Lutheran Church, it's part of the culture to be a prayer warrior.
In 1909, church members cleared donated land and, armed with nothing but prayer that God would meet their needs, built the first church building in 1916. In 1960, when their church building burned down, church members again put their shoulder to the load – and their prayers to God – and within two years had built a new church.
In 2010, they began praying again, this time for a new multipurpose social hall, kitchen, offices, meeting room and classrooms, to accommodate a growing number of ministries. By Oct. 25, $800,000 had been pledged by church members and loan documents were signed.
Jen Nelson, chairwoman of the church preschool, said the impact of prayer – communion with God – is evident in the relationships that have been built at Vinland, "in studying together and sharing our lives together. We’ve been changed through our lives together."
On Oct. 27, they took the power of prayer to the streets of Poulsbo. Thirty-five people in six vehicles drove to various sites and prayed to God that local needs would be met.
First, they prayed at the church. They prayed that the new building will be a welcoming place, that construction will go smoothly and funds will be provided.
They prayed at the adjacent cemetery, giving thanks for the faithful who sacrificed their time and resources "that we would have a place to worship."
They prayed in the garden, praying that we all will be wise stewards of our natural resources.
Then, one by one, the cars and vans departed. One vehicle went to Fishline, where church members prayed for food bank patrons, volunteers and staff. They prayed for an end to hunger.
One van went to Children of the Nations, where church members prayed for children being served in Dominican Republic, Haiti, Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
Others prayed in front of North Kitsap schools and the school district offices, Naval Base Kitsap — Bangor, Lutheran Community Services, Martha and Mary, Coffee Oasis, Habitat for Humanity, Poulsbo City Hall, Poulsbo Police Department, Poulsbo Fire Department, other churches, local health care offices, neighborhoods, and Lutherhaven camp on Wildcat Lake.
Church pastor Chuck Slocum said the idea for the prayer tour emerged from a youth mission trip to Los Angeles, where young church members visited and prayed in front of courts, fire stations, in impoverished neighborhoods, even in front of celebrities' homes. Church members talked about it and said a similar action would be good in Poulsbo, where there are so many needs in the community.
Rand Hein, a church member, participated in the local prayer tour with his wife and daughter.
"It was an experience," Hein said. "Our assignment was to pray at Children of the Nations and at Lutherhaven. My daughter is a volunteer at Children of the Nations and she told us what their needs are, and we've all spent a number of summers at Lutherhaven. But afterward, we went ahead and went to the Poulsbo Library, Gateway Academy, and a veterinarian. It kind of grew a bit … A lot of people have traumatic situations, and animals do as well."
Vinland Lutheran Church is involved in 20 to 30 ministries, according to Pastor Slocum. The prayer tour was a reminder that sometimes the most important thing to do is pray.
"I think it brings to our attention how we relate to God, and His hand in everything," Hein said. "Sometimes, we get worked [up in all] the details. This was kind of a way of stepping back and getting a feeling for the overall picture."
Hein said he expects the prayer tour will be annual.