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Couples’ on-line ministry site makes cyberspace a prayer circle

CERES, Calif. (BP)–An on-line prayer ministry established by two young married couples is turning cyberspace into a worldwide prayer circle.

Dawne-Marie and Mike Martin and Cindy and Daniel Ogden, of Turlock and Brea, Calif., respectively, though located in different parts of the state, are connected by a common mission and the Internet. They bring together persons who have prayer needs with persons who consider prayer an active part of their spiritual lives.

Under the banner of “ICHTHUS Ministries,” the site at www.PrayerNeeds.org went “live” on April 16 this year, with start-up money from an unexpected refund check the Martins received.

The couples met through Dawne-Marie’s grandmother, Marie Metcalf, a member of Brea Center Baptist Church. The Ogdens “adopted” Metcalf as a part of an “adopt-a-grandparent” project at the church, later meeting her natural granddaughter and her husband and beginning a friendship and ministry partnership.

Both Dawne-Marie and Mike, members of Baptist Temple in Modesto, had felt calls to ministry as youth — he to pastoral ministry and she to missions. Married less than a year and co-managing an apartment complex, the Martins say they feel conducting ministry on the Internet helps them fulfill those calls.

In early 1999, the Martins began to e-mail prayer requests to some friends across the United States. Out of that experience came the idea to establish a prayer website.

“When I first felt called to missions,” Dawne-Marie reflected, “I had no idea I would have a mission field all over the world from my living room.”

In slightly more than four months, that mission field has included Australia, India, Ireland, China, South Africa, Peru, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Finland, the Caribbean islands and the United States. More than 1,800 persons have visited the site and more than 600 prayer requests have been listed in that brief time span.

Prayer request categories include finances, health needs, intercession, missions/pastoral, salvation and a miscellaneous area labeled “other.”

Daniel Ogden, a software engineer for Unisys, and his wife Cindy, a customer service trainer, each contribute skills to the ministry. Daniel developed the site and continues as webmaster. Cindy learned to update the site during a several-week period shortly after the ministry began when the Martins were occupied with surgery and recovery for Mike.

The normal process however, is for the Martins to read and respond to requests, posting them in the appropriate areas on the site. Both Dawne-Marie and Mike pray specifically for each request. The Ogdens also visit the site twice daily to pray for the requests.

“PrayerNeeds.org is not designed to replace or take over the ministry of prayer in churches, but to enhance prayer ministry,” Mike Martin said.

The five-part purpose of ICHTHUS Ministries is to proclaim clearly the gospel of Christ, to engage in Christian missionary work through meeting the spiritual and prayer needs of those using the Internet, to encourage and foster spiritual growth through the discipline of prayer, to maintain the unity of the Spirit of God in fellowship with one another and to motivate and encourage local churches to deepen their ministry of prayer within their community.

By the end of the year 2000, the couples would like to have 1,000 persons registered to pray for requests; to have five churches involved in corporate prayer for requests, to link their websites to PrayerNeeds.org and to provide monthly financial support; and to have conducted two church conferences on prayer each month.

Other goals are to begin a prayer newsletter, to establish a small call center to receive telephone requests from those who have no Internet access and to have the financial support to conduct the prayer ministry fulltime.

To work toward those goals, Mike Martin has begun to make himself available to churches to speak about prayer ministry.

“Our mission field is the world,” he said. “There is a need out there. We would like to meet it full time.”

ICHTHUS Ministries may be reached by e-mail at [email protected], by fax at (209) 668-4803 or by mail at P.O. Box 21, Ceres, CA 95307.

    About the Author

  • Charles Willis