Revival is serious business for a group of Odessa pastors meeting at the Odessa Regional Medical Center chapel every week.
They want to see Odessa and Midland transformed spiritually and otherwise and believe prayer is a key to that goal, particularly as both cities begin to work more closely together.
The weekly prayer meetings at ORMC start a noon every Tuesday and are intended to develop unity between denominations and perhaps even both Odessa and Midland. One example is last week’s Global Day of Prayer celebration in Midland that brought churches from both cities together as more than 100 people showed up to pray for the region and world.
"We want a Permian Basin transformation, not just Odessa, and by working together we can see many things happen," the Rev. Dan Thiessen of Father’s Heart Ministries said.
He said he believes that things such as crime can turn around when a city dedicates itself to prayer and spiritual matters.
The Rev. Terry Pierce, one of the weekly prayer organizers, and said he wants all of the Permian Basin to come together in unity.
"We need more churches coming together and growing. Working together is so much better," he said.
The Rev. Don Palmer, a group co-founder, said he started the Pray Texas group several years ago after a lady that moved away did it well before he and Pierce started the new incarnation.
"The Lord laid it on my heart to pull the churches together," he said. "We have to remove the barriers because we know the power of prayer."
Palmer said the weekly prayers have started leading to other instances of cooperation between churches in both cities, such as personal meetings with other alliance members and joining the Southside Ministerial Alliance to expand involvement.
He said the alliances come together with a prayer summit every January in Stanton in an event sponsored by Midland churches. He said he has noticed a difference with the weekly prayer meetings.
"I think I have seen an impact in the churches with more people longing for God and knowing we have to come together," Palmer said.
The Rev. Mike Philliber, Midland Ministerial Alliance president, said he has noticed a trend of increased cooperation between the churches in both cities, such as the prayer summit and Global Day of Prayer celebration.
"There’s more of that going on, and I think the desire for it is unanimous," he said.
Philliber said the long-standing divisions between churches in the cities are weakening.
"There have been tensions over the years over issues from long ago," he said. "There is a push for both cities to be drawn closer together."
For the Rev. Chuck Lane, his prayer is for churches to join hands despite their differences to ultimately reach that goal of coming together.
"Forgive us for wanting others to fit our box of what the church should be," he prayed at last Tuesday’s meeting.
IF YOU GO
>> What: Pray Odessa meeting.
>> Who: Citizens and ministers invited to pray for the city and region.
>> When: Noon to 1 p.m. every Tuesday.
>> Where: Odessa Regional Medical Center chapel on the East Campus, 515 N. Adams Ave.
>> Call: 362-0206 or 362-1911.