Postcard sent from Nashville church
Here is one of the many thousands of postcards mailed out in the greater Nashville area. Source: [Reddit][1]

It has become a tradition over at Nashville-based Ethos Church to fast and pray for the city during the month of February. This year, church staffers decided to do the 'Buckle of the Bible Belt' one better. In the 30-day prayer focus known as Awaken Nashville, Ethos Church partnered with some 350 other congregations and decided to pray for every Nashville resident by name.

In the program, volunteers were given a list of 15 random names and addresses- Nashvillians- and told to pray for them throughout the month and then mail each of them a personalized postcard informing the recipient they've been prayed for. All told, tens of thousands of outgoing postcards were mailed.

Ethos Pastor Dave Clayton explained that the postcards were born out of love. "I love this city, and it's a great time to be here, but we just had this conviction that despite all the good things that were going on, there's still a lot of pain." He continued, "we started wrestling with how we could love and care for the city. I think there are a lot of answers to that, but for us the starting place was prayer."

Misgivin' on a Prayer

Prayer pamphlet with instructions
The church offered pamphlets instructing congregants what to write in their letters.

Intercessory prayer, or the act of praying on behalf of others, has been a common type of prayer in Christianity since the early days. But some view this as a bridge too far.

"I just couldn't believe that some creepy guy I don't even know was taking time out of his day to tell me how to live my life," expressed Nashville resident Cory Johnson. "I genuinely believe the project is a form of trespassing and a huge invasion of privacy."

One resident was left wondering how the church had even managed to glean her personal address and info. "In the card, an anonymous person indicated that for nearly a month, they had been praying for me to let Jesus Christ into my heart. What creeped me out was not just that the person was sending well wishes my way, but instead praying for me to make a religious conversion." Nonreligious Americans might be thinking, Jesus gets shoved down my throat every day. Now he's getting shoved in my mailbox?

One can imagine that's not the reaction church leaders had in mind. Cross Point Church pastor Kevin Queen insists the postcards were simply meant to encourage those who received them, nothing more. "When I pray for my kids, I pray for them by name. When I pray for my wife, I pray for her by name. When things are personal, it just increases love." Some, at least, appreciated the gesture. Nashville resident Andrew Brumel was glad somebody had been thinking of him: "I had been going through some things right about the time I got the postcard, so when I got it, it was almost like a sign from God that things would all work out."

Postal Disservice?

It's easy to see why specifically being prayed for without knowledge or consent by a perfect stranger might rub some people the wrong way. Still, many Christians view proselytizing as their biblical duty. In a piece for CNN, pastor Ed Stetzer explains that "we proselytize because we deeply believe what we are sharing is important enough to expend our energy and enthusiasm. For Christians, they share because they truly believe the founder of the faith told them to, and that his message changes people." For true believers, evangelism is a Christ-given command that cannot be ignored.

Still, all of the time, money and effort spent on this might have been better used elsewhere. The tens of thousands of dollars spent on postage alone might have gone to local homeless shelters. The countless hours spent praying for faceless strangers could have been spent in soup kitchens instead.

Although, many may argue that time spent praying is never time spent wasted.

What do you think? Was the Awaken Nashville program a soul-saving success, or did the whole ordeal give prospective converts the heebie-jeebies?


  1. Dr.Rev. Annie's Avatar Dr.Rev. Annie

    Arrogant Christianity at its worst. Jesus didn't say anything about telling people that you were praying for them. He said in regard to giving to the needy:

    'So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be praised by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their full reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.…' Mt 6:2-4

    I think this could be applied to prayer as it, but do it secretly and don't make a big deal out of it. If you want to evangelize, do it like the Mormons,go door to door- at least that way, people have a chance to say no thank you and shut the door.

    Prayer is powerful, no doubt, but there is no reason to make it intrusive. Save the money from the postcards and spend it on the needy.

    I find this creepy.

    1. Rev.Brian.'s Avatar Rev.Brian.

      Indeed! Stupid really too. It's also confrontational at an intellectual level; "How dare you assume I want or need this?"

    2. Don's Avatar Don

      "I think this could be applied to prayer as well." Indeed - so did Jesus. Matthew 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

  1. Rod Gesner's Avatar Rod Gesner

    Bulk Mailing Fer Jebus;) I'm sure it's been done before

    1. Justin Benjamin's Avatar Justin Benjamin

      Praise Jebus! - Homer Simpson

    2. Rev Kim's Avatar Rev Kim

      Years ago I worked for the newspaper in Colorado Springs and included in the Sunday paper one day was a copy of the New Testament! It was a royal pain to get those papers out and it was not well received. Many complained that it was blasphemous to throw a Bible while others just thought it was offensive to force it on people. Needless to say, we didn't do that again!

    3. Rod Gesner's Avatar Rod Gesner

      Just be thankfull that they didn't get ahold of an Autodialer Like Homer Simpson.. ;)

  1. Joe's Avatar Joe

    Pray for me but donate the two bucks to someone who needs it instead of wasting it on on a card and stamp.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    If someone wants to speak on my behalf to the floor, or the wall, or the ceiling, depending on which Abrahamic religion it is, they can do it. If they feel good doing it, then I say let them carry on.

    1. Alan J Meunier's Avatar Alan J Meunier

      Yeah, but don't send me a postcard about it!

      1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        We get junk mail all the time, either online, or in the mailbox. Either way they all get trashed.

    2. Hank Stanco's Avatar Hank Stanco

      That’s the first thing you wrote with which I agree. Good for you.

      If some person wishes to pray to his deity, whether to a god or to a head of cabbage, for my benefit, I thank him.

    3. Carl Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Elfstrom

      I don't care what people spend their money on. At least it makes them feel good in thinking they did something to help others. All junk mail goes in the trash can next to my door as soon as I get it out of my mailbox. No sweat off my back. Otherwise, I'm a sick puppy, and can use all the prayers I can get, to whatever benevolent deity they pray to. No amount of prayer will turn me into a Christian though.. Been there, done that, won't make that mistake again. By the same token, maybe my fellow Wiccans in Nashville ought to send postcards to those prolific evangelists saying "I'm a Witch and cast a spell on you today to reject Christianity, and become Pagans." Like Magick, I bet they'll never send another postcard. Blessed be !

      1. Carl Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Elfstrom

        Don't forget, magick is not instantaneous, but a process, and requires the use of the right correspondences for a particular spell, for it to work. But be careful to always keep in mind the law of three, and the Golden Rule. Blessed be !

  1. Dr. Daniel R. Thomas. Ph.D. D.D's Avatar Dr. Daniel R. Thomas. Ph.D. D.D

    Mark 8:38 NASB For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

    Those that can find no place for His word in their heart have a hardened heart. They have a heart so hard that no amout of love can enter in.

    Matthew 12:30 NASB He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

    There is no fence sitting with the Lord. You are either with Him or against Him. To those against, prayer is gibberish. It is a waste of time and effort. Eventually it is a waste of money. Money that could be better spent on something else.

    John 12:4-6 NASB But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, [5] "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?" [6] Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.

    What has value to a thief has no value to a son of God. And we are all Son's of God.

    1. Alicia's Avatar Alicia

      What school did you go to that taught you that "Sons" (plural) should have an apostrophe?

      Do you realize that not all of us here are "sons", nor do we all honor the same gods?

      1. Carl Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Elfstrom

        St.Judas was framed ! He was Jesus' lover, and caught Jesus in bed with Jezebel. Of course he turned him in. Believe me, I won't be seeking his Father's kingdom, or his silly fairies he calls angels after my death, Dr. Goober R Thomas. I'll be going straight to the part of Heaven where St. Rob Halford, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Ozzie Osbourne, Black Sabbath, and Eagles will be playing live throughout eternity!!! I've got reservations for front row seats ! Your Christian heaven sounds like hell to me.

    2. Lori's Avatar Lori

      There it is again, Dr Daniel. Thump, thump, thump. I hear the biblical drum beating, but you don't seem to get that it turns people away. For anyone other than other thump-er's, it's become a joke and folks are sick of it. I'm sorry, but not everyone is in your boat.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    “We are all sons of god”

    That quite a fallacious statement Daniel. Can you back that up with evidence, or are you just quoting words from a book?


    BLA BLA BLA "CHRISTIANS" BLA BLA BLA why don't just be a christian yourself, act as a chistian, think as a real chistian and love as a christian al forget about convert more people to get more money for your church?

  1. Laurie Cleveland's Avatar Laurie Cleveland

    Here's my viewpoint. Praying for someone who is going through a rough time or maybe going down the wrong path to me is a good thing. I have no problem with that or one or more gathering about a sick person"s bed and performing laying on of hands. This is very powerful and many miracles have occurred. But all of these are usually either requested or the person doing the praying is known to the person. I think that a better way to pray, in this case. would be for the highest good for the people in the city as well as perhaps getting those who are struggling back on track. God knows what is needed for each person. When I perform a healing, I always ask for that which is good come to me and that which is good go from me. I am only the conduit. Perhaps the healing takes place on the physical, mental or spiritual or a combination thereof. There is a line that we should not cross and while their intentions appear to be good, they crossed the line

  1. Alicia's Avatar Alicia

    WOW! What a violation of privacy! This is wrong on so many levels!

    1. Tom's Avatar Tom

      So is banging a midget in an elevator... Zing!

      1. Carl Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Elfstrom

        A midget Tom, really ? Why stop with one. You could cram a whole bunch of midgets in an elevator with you.

  1. Minister Bill's Avatar Minister Bill

    In general, many priests, nuns, fathers, sisters, etc., do this daily anyhow without a need to mail each individual a postcard. So, why mess with a thing that already works for tens of thousands of folks. Oh, and one or two other folks posted something about only, sons or one religion? Yep. I agree. Christianity and it's derivatives just happens to be one of the accepted religions. "Accepted". Not "only". The standard (?) bible is listed as "The King James Version". Works and passages accepted into this version of the bible. Not the right or wrong ones, just the ones accepted. Folks that quote the work should do a little research first. The bibles source material? Most from The Torah. Yep. Christianity=Judaism. King of the Jews. "The Christ". Where does the name Christianity come from anyhow?

  1. minister james's Avatar minister james

    In the end, one's personal metaphysics, and the sincere. unflinching embrace of those metaphysics, can only be decided by the individual themselves. Others, for many reasons, would like, and have always liked being able to make that decision for you, always from their own position of moral/spiritual superiority-i.e.: proselytization.. It has always appeared to me that the act of proselytization confuses wanting to KNOW the supreme being/beings with BEING the supreme being/beings. As imperfect as we humans undoubtedly are, this inclination has always given me uneasy pause. Your results may vary. May we all find a better day.

  1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

    I think it would be great to use as a prank on someone you actually know, to tease them about something, as long as it wasn't bad enough to cause a divorce or a lot of seriously malicious gossip.

    I suppose it would also be a devilishly clever way to needle someone who irritates you, or cause real trouble between an adversary and their significant other, but if you caused a killing or a divorce and the U.S. Mail was involved, it could really bite you in the backside if proven.

    As a witnessing tool, this technique just doesn't strike me as a good way to get people to visit your place of worship. A couple of barbecues a year would probably encourage more interest.

    1. Don's Avatar Don

      So you're a fan of trolling people in real life as well. Interesting.

      1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

        Very interesting that you accuse another of trolling, WHILE YOU ARE TROLLING, you Troll.

  1. Tom's Avatar Tom

    If any of them from that there congregation are listening, please pray for my toaster. For my toaster has lost the crumb tray underneath. I think one of my kids lost it betting on how many laps the fat kid can do during recess.

  1. James's Avatar James

    PPL wish to pray, personally or collectively for the world or one person... Thats their free will. The world need more prayer. Send the post card costs / energy to feed the hungry & clothe the family down the street. PS: Ever wonder why many prayer appear to go unanswered? Consider that 75% of prayer goes unanswered or should it be said "appears to be" unanswered.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Consider 100% of speaking to the ceiling, wall, or floor goes unanswered, unless one is schizophrenic.


    2. Carl Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Elfstrom

      That has something to do with why, in working the eleventh step, we only pray for God's Will for us, and the power to carry it out.

  1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

    If someone else thinks they have their own life together so well that they can spend their own prayer time praying for me, more power to them. I don't see what the big deal is.

  1. Bill's Avatar Bill

    This is scary. These people obviously have no boundaries on their zeal. I would get a restraining order if at all possible.

    1. SeekerOfTruth's Avatar SeekerOfTruth

      This is just virtue signaling - pretending to piety. It's something far, far too many Christians (and others) do.

      "I'll pray for you" is an all too common example.

      Remind them of Matthew 25:35-40 - the direct words of Jesus. That's the real deal if they are as they claim.

    2. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

      Nothing scary about it. Just silly.

  1. Amber's Avatar Amber

    This wouldn't be so bad if it was a prayer for good health or happiness or anything good. But this is about praying people get into line in a Christian way. That's just wrong. The whole note is worded in a form of proselytizing and shouldn't be part of prayer.

    1. Thomas N Binnall's Avatar Thomas N Binnall

      If you start a religion/church, I well may join. No person/church has the right to define "god" for another. Personally 50% of the time my god(s) = female. Women need equal billing. (I'm male).

  1. Luisa Fernanda Montalvo Arroyave's Avatar Luisa Fernanda Montalvo Arroyave

    So cute! People expecting real charity acts for Christians hahahahahha no, they need the “picture”... and soup kitchens doesn’t have “instagramers”

  1. Laura Compton's Avatar Laura Compton

    Not sure why they think there is a need for post cards. They aren’t necessary for prayer or even results/answer to prayer. If the congregation has a heart for their community and feel led to pray, that’s wonderful. But I get the impression that the post cards are really to make sure those being prayed for build up the size of the congregation. And that shouldn’t be the focus of their prayers—only for their well-being and God’s hand in their lives. Also, I’m with the person above regarding the soup kitchen. I’d like to add that one can serve in a soup kitchen AND pray for their community at the same time.

  1. Thomas N Binnall's Avatar Thomas N Binnall

    If there's a return address on the post-cards, send them a bill for the annoyance of having to deal with it. They won't ever pay, christians of that sort are notoriously self minded. Wait the appropriate interval and turn them in to a collection agency.

  1. Tod M. Steinbauer's Avatar Tod M. Steinbauer

    Prayer is a form of blessing and all blessings are good no matter the source.

  1. Jackie's Avatar Jackie

    I think it was cowardly to not put the sender's name and address on the post card. This alone makes it creepy.

  1. Gary's Avatar Gary

    What bothers me is not the fact that they decided to pray for people but what the message on the card says. The example shown is one of the most judgmental statements I have seen. To write it to a total stranger is incredible. The prayer wrote that he/she prayed that Satan stop blinding them to God. They don't know these people. They have no idea who they are or what is going on in their lives. Talk about ignoring Jesus's teaching. First take the beam out of your own eye, before taking the speck from someone else.

  1. William C Millhouse's Avatar William C Millhouse

    I will never refuse positive energy; however, this is not positive energy. This is just another method of so called Christians trying to shove their religion down the throats of others by piling on supposed guilt.

  1. Forrest Blank's Avatar Forrest Blank

    Such language. Remember to be kind.

  1. James M. Gillen's Avatar James M. Gillen

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does baptisms for those who have passed on. It is understood that the dead accept it or don't accept it. I find it hard to believe that there are those who resent that the baptisms are done at all. (If you don't believe it is so, why care what anybody does on their own?)

    1. SeekerOfTruth's Avatar SeekerOfTruth

      If religion means anything at all, then these things have meaning.

      Either these prayers are obnoxious, or religion is meaningless.

    2. Rev. Shane Lowrey's Avatar Rev. Shane Lowrey

      You haven't heard about the todo with the Jewish Synagogs I take it. They have been mightily offended when their ancestors are baptised into the "Christian" church.

      I have LDS family members. They best not try to hijack my soul through posthumous baptism. I will find a way out of my grave and hound whomever to their death. Then, I will return to moulder until the Judgement Day arrives.

  1. Dan Atatakai's Avatar Dan Atatakai

    Numerous studies have been shown to have adverse influence when it comes to intercessory prayer.

    On a slightly different topic, when people say, "I will pray for you" because you do not agree with them, I find that nothing more than dishonest arrogance. While there may be a few who are honest when they make that claim, the majority are imposing insult on top of their claims in a dishonest phrase, meaning nothing more than an insult to those who disagree.

  1. SeekerOfTruth's Avatar SeekerOfTruth

    > "... an anonymous person indicated that for nearly a month, they had been praying for me to let Jesus Christ into my heart."

    I'd prefer it if they prayed that Gail O'Grady would let herself into my bed. Where can I sign up for that?

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Now YOU make sense, though I would question your choice of goddess to be let into your bed ?

  1. Linda Capps's Avatar Linda Capps

    The best way to have done this would be to send a "break-away" postcard saying the upcoming prayer event is coming and can we pray for you during this time and allow them to either send back a reply, go to a website and post their prayer request or call asking for prayer, rather than assuming they would even want the churches to pray for them. In this case Asking First is better than Asking for Forgiveness. No matter how pure the reason.

  1. A druid's Avatar A druid

    If someone sent me an anonymous postcard claiming that my household was under the blinding influence of satan and needed their god's assistance I would consider this an existential threat and report the matter to the police as harassment requiring a court ordered cease and desist since the sender is obviously demented. I'm happy the way I am.

  1. Jeri Hodges's Avatar Jeri Hodges

    That is wrong on so many levels. You should never assume the worst of people you do not even know. The sin of pride is in there, too. There are probably many more but, I just skimmed the article.

  1. King's Avatar King

    Definitely seems odd that they say the founder expects them to do it. Since Jesus was not Christian but Jewish.

  1. fred klink's Avatar fred klink

    ok, think on this why can't people who believe in themselves send them folks stuff they want them to believe. like an unprayer that is do able equal under the law remember. gaming the system is old as religions three. I bless you all

  1. Secretary3rd's Avatar Secretary3rd

    Sounds like fun. Able to scare the manure out of them. Wearing my Harry Potters outfit, a little smoke and flash powder and followers chanting u-earthly words it would be a great show time. It will go viral as their church rocks.

  1. Archbishop Yanel Jay Laroche Jr.'s Avatar Archbishop Yanel Jay Laroche Jr.

    Praying to Lord Jesus Christ is a must as a Christian so nice.We have to act wise as Christian people that believe in the LORD. The holy Bible says. "This good news of the kingdom will be preached to all the nations, and then the end will come."

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Thank you Yanel for your fairy tales and fantasy. If thats' what you want to believe, I say, go for it, as long as you don't harm anyone.

      Please be well!

    2. Lori's Avatar Lori

      and the more the bible is pushed on people, the more we run in the other direction. It's good to be away from Christianity. From what I've seen of Christians, it isn't the love, kindness, and peace kind of thing at all. Christians are judging and attempt to play fear games with people. It's very sad.

  1. Rod Gesner's Avatar Rod Gesner

    While I find it Less than the AfterLife Terrorism of Hellfire and damnation EvilAngelists; the Thing that Realy Gets me is on the Here's How to Do it Form: Do Not use your full name and address WTF! They have The name and address they are sending to But Have So little Faith in their Message, Prayers; and God/Jesus To Protect them that They Will not Disclose Their own? This is The Leaders instruction? Bah Humbug:( Thee of Little Faith...;)

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