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MURFREESBORO — Every Saturday — rain or shine — Scott Coy sets up an awning, two chairs and numerous signs in front of Victory Christian Center on Middle Tennessee Boulevard to let people know he'll pray for them.
He started the Prayer Stop two years ago because the Lord told him to do it.
“I just came out here, and people just started coming up, and I just prayed," said Coy, who spends around three hours each day studying the Bible and praying throughout the day.
Truthfully, he said, it wasn’t something he really wanted to do. Admittedly a shy, “back row of the church” kind of guy, the soft-spoken Coy said he “snuck out there the first day” he set up the Prayer Stop. At first, it was a little unnerving praying for complete strangers.
But soon he settled into the idea of praying for strangers, and the strangers came for the prayer — some of them multiple times over the past two years.
“There are a lot of them. There’s so much hurt in the world,” said Coy, a member of Victory Christian Center, which allows him to pray in the parking lot.
Overall, people have been receptive to the idea of the Prayer Stop. A few naysayers have chastised him for the public prayer.
“Some people don’t agree … don’t like it. But I can’t do anything about that,” he said. “But most people do.”
People from a variety of walks of life ask for prayer for family members, job situations, finances, relationships, wisdom — you name it, she said.
One Saturday, David Haley stopped by to help Coy pray for others. Haley was also suffering with his own health issue — a swollen knee — that needed a little divine intervention.
“(Coy said) well God told me somebody was going to come here with a messed up right knee and it was going to be healed. Sure enough … the swelling went down, and I could walk on it,” said David Haley, who sits with Coy sometimes to pray with people.
Coy said he’ll pray for anybody, regardless of what they believe, because “you just have to love everybody.” The majority of those who ask for prayer claim the Christian faith, a few admitted atheists have stopped by, too. He said that doesn’t bother him because “with atheists … you know where they stand.”
“(Atheists) aren’t mean; they just don’t believe in God,” said Coy, who is currently working on becoming an ordained minister. “One of the atheists — I told him I’d pray for what I feel like what the Lord was showing me to pray. He said, ‘You got it all right.’”
The prayer aficionado said he doesn’t try to convert people to Christianity when they stop for prayer either. And he doesn’t try to shame them because he “doesn’t judge anybody.”
“I can’t bring anybody to the Lord. It’s the Holy Spirit that does it,” Coy said.
Coy said the Lord never fails to show him what prayers need to be said.
Most of the time, he doesn’t have any trouble praying for people, and he usually is able to keep his emotions in check. But once a man stopped by after losing his daughter, which Coy said was difficult.
“He was on his way to Vanderbilt to claim the body. He wanted prayer, and I said, ‘I don’t think I even know what to pray.’ I couldn’t believe he was even able to function. But, somehow, we prayed, and he appreciated it,” Coy said. “Sometimes all you can say is, ‘I’m sorry.’”
Another mother stopped after the death of her son. With that particular prayer, emotions of the mother brought him to tears.
He also keeps a log of those who stop for prayer – first names only. But everything he talks with people about is “kept confidential.” The prayer list helps him to go back and pray for people as well as keeps a log for those who return with praise reports. One couple from Switzerland contacted him to say their lives “were completely changed” and they are “doing quite well.”
“I do have people come back and say God has really answered their prayers. It seems like there are times when I don’t think God (will) answer their prayers and he does,” Coy said.
Although Coy is ever faithful to pray, he said anybody can do it. Prayer isn’t an exclusive act that can be performed by a select few. It’s just a matter of talking with God.
“He created you to fellowship with him, not just to worship him. … My wife, Judy, she’ll just sit there and talk to God. That’s what I do, I just pray and talk to the Lord,” Coy said. “It was hard in the beginning. Then it just became easier. But once you start praying like that, you start hearing the Lord a lot more.”
Contact Nancy De Gennaro at 615-278-5148 or , or follow her on Twitter @DNJMama