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Church leaders open prayer line during coronavirus pandemic

As COVID-19 continues to dominate the headlines, more people are reaching out to their local pastors.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — As COVID-19 continues to dominate the headlines, more people are reaching out to their local pastors.

"As we sit here, I sit here, and look out my window, I ask for prayer for the sick and the shut in and for peace for people just to have peace God," Angie said, who left this prayer request for Rev. Charles Harrison of Barnes United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. ​​

Harrison is one of many pastors in Indiana who started a prayer line during the coronavirus pandemic.​​

"I have friends and members of my church who have gotten COVID-19," Rev. Harrison said. "A lot of people have been impacted by the fact that they are part of the 10 million who have either been furloughed or have lost their jobs as a result of this."

Harrison said many, understandably, are worried, fearful, stressed or have anxiety during these difficult times.​​

"[It's] something that has happened that most of us have not seen in our lifetime, so you're trying to adjust to this new way of life," Rev. Harrison said. ​​

Every Tuesday at 6 p.m., Rev. Harrison opens a prayer line for anyone to call. He also hosts a Facebook Live service during the same time.​​

Other pastors are doing something similar.​​

Samuel Shafer, pastor of Apostolic Faith Tabernacle in Cloverdale, said he wanted to start a prayer line after hearing of a surge in calls to the state's 211 help line. ​​

"I was just moved in my spirit. Why not have an outlet for somebody to turn to for prayer?" Shafer said. "I had banners printed up and put on our church and got our number remodified [and] set up on the church phone. That way, anyone that wanted to reach out to that number can reach out for prayer."

Shafer said he hopes to help people through prayer.​​

"When I think of these situations, my mind goes to Zachariah 1-3. Just paraphrasing, it talks about turning unto the Lord, and he will turn unto you," Shafer said.​​

Rev. Harrison said the increase in people watching the church's live streams has expressed concern and fear.​​

"They really want to be connected to God," Rev. Harrison said. "The spiritual part is important for a lot of people. A lot feel they aren't able to maneuver through this time in their life without the presence of God in their life."

Both pastors want the community to know they are not alone and that there are others who care about them in their struggles.​​

"Anybody that is in need, if they're dealing with depression, anxiety, sickness, I'll pray with them. I'll talk with them," Shafer said.​​

Angie continues to pray for her family's safety and strength.​​

"Allow us to make it through this crisis unscathed — that would be my prayer," Angie said.​​

The prayer line for Barnes United Methodist Church is 601-803-2378. The pin number to enter is 295862852. ​​

The prayer line for Apostolic Faith Tabernacle is 765-795-5886. ​