The congregation of Snead First United Methodist Church has created a beautiful and inspirational prayer garden in the hope that all people will feel welcome to make use of its beauty as a place of peace and solitude.
According to church member Becky Whitley, the inspiration for the garden comes from scripture, and many of the elements in the garden are based on references to numbers found in scripture. "Our prayer garden itself represents Gethsemane, where Jesus went to pray," she said. "The number one means unity, so we have one garden and also one rock." The rock is to remind all who visit of scripture references to God being our rock, as in 2 Samuel 22:10, The Lord is my rock and my fortress. Another meaningful reference is Matthew 16:18, when Jesus speaks to Peter: ...upon this rock I will build my church.
"God gives us many accounts of the rock in scripture," Whitley said. "The story of the Ebenezer rock in 1 Samuel reminds us that God has helped us thus far and will help us again tomorrow and always. Also, when the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River, a member of each tribe took up a stone and the priests arranged them in a circle as a lasting memorial to their deliverance from the desert to the promised land."
The number three is represented by the three shrubs in the corner of the garden. "Three stands for God," Whitley said. "The shrubs also represent the crucifiction - Christ is the middle one, and the others are the two crucified with him."
Seven represents completeness, represented by seven urns on top of the wall surrounding the garden.
"When things look tough ahead, we can look at the items in our prayer garden, remember what they represent, and be reminded that God is ever faithful," said Whitley. "It is truly holy ground."