A 16-year-old junior is inspiring thousands with a “prayer locker” ministry started by her at school.
Brianna Farris from Pell City, Alabama has asked students to write down and leave requests of any nature in the locker and then she would take them home and pray for them one by one.
She says the idea came to her after she found herself becoming a shoulder for many of her friends to cry on. “I would always go home and pray for them [her friends] as well, so I got the idea of people being able to drop prayers or anything that they want to discuss in my locker,” Brianna said.
Although her mom, Candace Farris, was sceptical at first about it and warned her that it may cause controversy among students who do not believe in prayer.
“When she first told me she was feeling led to do the prayer locker, I asked her what she would do if she got an ugly note,” Candace said. “She thought about it for a minute and said ‘Well, I would pray for them too.’ Then I knew she would be able to handle it.”
Brianna said she could not get rid of this idea to start a prayer ministry, “I felt that I was being led to do this,” Brianna said. “If someone feels the need to put a mean note in my locker, then maybe they are trying to reach out and ask for prayers or help too.”
Brianna started the ministry by putting a note on the outside telling students to drop prayer requests in the locker, submitted anonymously or with a name. As the locker was put up by her and not by faculty the school administration allowed it.
The locker started receiving 5 to 10 prayer requests a week and Brianna says that the reaction from students was about 95 percent positive and 5 percent uncertain or skeptical, but not outright negative.
“It just took off,” Brianna said. “I did not know it would do so well.”
“We never imagined how many people she would touch and lives she would impact,” Candace added.
Brianna said she even rewords the requests, labels them with her school name and leaves them in the prayer basket at the church she goes to with her family, Mt. Zion Free Will Baptist Church in Pell City, so the church can pray for the students.
Mt. Zion pastor Michael Barber said they were all excited for Brianna and her efforts at ministering to her school. “We are really proud of her at the church,” Barber said. “For a young person to really appreciate the power of prayer, but also in a setting with her peers, just says a lot about her walk with the Lord as well. I’m very proud of her.”
Barber said that prayer locker ministry is still in its infancy and that Brianna would continue it as long as she is able and has the support to do so. “It’s in its infancy, but she’s had a great response to it, she’s going to continue to have that,” Barber said. “I appreciate the school and the administration and their support as well in allowing her to do that.”
Brianna said she appreciates students trusting her, “Even though they [students] do not have to write their name, some people do and I love that people can confide in me with their personal situations,” Brianna said.
She says she uses this opportunity to also share the gospel with them, “I have had students come up to me that are lost and don’t know what to believe or don’t believe in prayer and ask me to tell them how to pray,” Brianna said. “Your prayers are always heard even though you may not understand your situation at the moment.”
Candace said she is inspired by Brianna’s bold faith. “My daughter is showing others not to be ashamed of their faith and not to be scared to pray,” Candace said. “She is a very brave and faithful young lady.”
Brianna said she hopes the ministry leads people to see that prayer has actual, lasting impact. “There are some [students] who do not believe in prayer, or are lost in their beliefs, and my goal is this prayer locker will help them see that it is real and it does work,” Brianna said. “I don’t push anything on anyone, but I just hope that they can see through other students who do believe, that [prayer] is real and that it can touch everyone at my school and make a different in their life and decisions they make.”
After her graduation next year, Brianna hopes to pass the ministry to someone else and is also looking at expanding the idea to other local schools. “I do plan to continue to pray for our schools and the people in them even after I graduate,” Brianna said. “I hope that doors will continue to open for me to be able to inspire others or to find ways to reach out to others.”
Brianna is such a huge inspiration to thousands of students who are desperately searching for God and cannot find answers to their prayers. We pray that they too would turn to God and believe in the power of prayer like Brianna and bring many to God.