Ned from Lansing, Michigan reads a prayer during a neighborhood Walk for Race Amity.
Points of Light Illumine Indiana, Michigan and Ohio
Devotional meetings are increasing around the world, spiritualizing our planet and helping individuals and communities strengthen in God’s love, protection and grace. The Points of Light map — indicating sites of devotionals — is glowing ever brighter.
Beverly of Bloomington Indiana described their family devotions as “a pivot toward the light at a time when we needed it to protect us from being engulfed in darkness.”
According to Regional Statistics Officer Oliver Thomas, out of 2,202 households offering devotions in 237 homes with 285 individual hosts. Many are weekly, some monthly, some bi-weekly, and some as inspiration stirs action, through newly-organized “prayer rings.” Each prayer ring is a group of a few friends who have arranged to call each other for prayers on a regular basis.
While devotional meetings have been an integral part of the past several global Plans, the emphasis on household devotional meetings was initiated by the National Spiritual Assembly at Ridvan of this year with a goal of having a devotional gathering in every household in the country. One of these many regular devotional meetings started as early as 2005, but many new devotional meetings were launched in response to the National Assembly’s goal.
Statistics for August through October 2020 showed 402 devotional meetings: some of these are household devotional meetings and others are held elsewhere. This is an increase from 357 in the previous cycle. Attendance increased to 1,659 participants, up from 1,538 in the previous 3 months. Friends of the Faith increased to 453, up from 361 in the previous cycle.
Some devotionals occur while walking (with social distancing) or before biking, on porches or in parks. Many are indoors on Zoom or a similar platform. Some are quietly meditative without speech, invoking the spirit of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. Some focus on healing, some on community issues, and add consultation or meaningful conversations.
Yolanda of West Chester Township, Ohio, says, “Technology has closed the gap,” with computer applications making it easy to use translators and offer prayers in different languages.
Comments from participants include appreciation for being able to share prayers with grandchildren, distant friends and family. One impromptu devotional attracted 17 people with two hours notice, including friends of the Faith.
Janet of Huron, Ohio, reported a devotional that started as a pre-COVID interfaith service with co-workers having this result — “We have grown very close … and stay in touch through text if there is a prayer need.”
For Eileen of Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, prayers said with her husband, though he is in a long-term care facility and they can’t be together, have been a healing balm which has strengthened their marriage through a very traumatic time.
Jeanne, Libby and Chloe of East Lansing, Michigan, created a devotional service to attract university students interested in “the intersection between spiritual and social reality.” After meeting more than four years, this service transitioned to Zoom in March.
The Regional Council appreciates all who are illuminating the website map with their notations of devotions and the spirituality of our three states!! Please go to the Points of Light map to add your devotions.
Please contact your cluster statistics officer to find out how to count your prayer ring. Note that home visits generally have a prayer element, but their main purpose is deepening and so are not counted as devotional meetings for statistical gathering.