By Rosemarie Dowell
Positive Press News
An Ocoee congregation is hosting a drive-through prayer outreach in the hopes of allaying fears and concerns of area residents in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Members of the Orlando House of Prayer, an off-shoot of Living Waters Church, will honor prayer requests from the public from 6 to 7 p.m. Fridays, beginning today, and from 10 a.m. to Noon Saturdays through April 18, if not longer.
Area residents are encouraged to drive to the church’s parking lot at 336 W. Franklin St., in Ocoee during those times, roll down their vehicle’s window and tell a waiting volunteer their prayer request while maintaining social distancing guidelines.
The church hopes to bring comfort, peace, guidance and healing to anyone who needs it, through the power of prayer. No appointments are necessary.
“This is our way of being able to offer some kind of comfort to people during this virus crisis,” said church founder Carlos Sarmiento, who serves as executive director of the prayer-centric ministry. “We’re just throwing it to the wind and seeing what happens.”
Those having trouble coping with stress and anxiety caused by the global pandemic or experiencing financial troubles due to a recent job loss due to shutdowns are especially welcome.
“We’ll stay a safe distance away and respect their space, say hello, welcome to the House of Prayer and ask them how can we pray for you,” said Sarmiento, whose wife of nearly 33 years, Emily, serves as its prayer room director.
“They may ask for physical healing, be concerned about the economy, or want us to pray for someone in their family,” he said. “Once we pray for them, they can pull out of the parking lot and be on their way.”
The ministry plans on doing the prayer outreach for as long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, said Sarmiento, who founded Living Waters in 2000 and House of Prayer in 2008.
We have four weekend dates scheduled,” he said. “We’ll reevaluate the situation in the middle of April and see if all the restrictions are still in place; if they are, we will keep doing it.”
Sarmiento, who has five adult children with Emily said the House of Prayer has worship services with music, a short sermon, and fellowship at 7:15 p.m. Fridays, but it is not a typical church. Instead, members and or guests gather in the church’s prayer room throughout the week in two hour-time slots, or sets, to pray.
“We’re focused on the power of prayer,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just one person, sometimes it’s a group of five or six, but they all just focus on praying on a specific subject.”
“They can pray through singing too,” said Sarmiento. “We pray for the body of Christ, victims of sex trafficking and whatever is happening in our nation.”
Once the crisis passes, Sarmiento said the church plans to host the service once a month.
“Our goal is to emphasize the power of prayer,” he said. “We want to see breakthroughs.”