Volunteers Pray Together for WGTS Listeners
Story by Lisa Krueger
“Would you help us pray for WGTS listeners?” This was the question then-Sligo church Youth Pastor Terry Johnsson had for several of the station’s volunteers and local church members. Johnsson was doing a weekly call-in show for teens in 2008. Following the show, he would pray with a dozen or so listeners who would call. After an on-air promotion, the number of calls reached 100, and that year during the station’s spring fundraiser, 500 listeners called for prayer in just six hours. Johnsson says, "That’s when I realized we should make prayer available all the time."
Johnsson put together a team of volunteers, including Kristy Garza, Laila Mashny, Margot Chappell, Linda Valenca, Sandra DeVaux, Linda Fox, Joan Silver, Esther Zaiback and Ray Zimmerman. For several years, this dedicated group took phone calls from listeners. One volunteer, Mashny, says, "It is heart-touching to see the answered prayers and praises. Prayers are wonders, like sending a message to God."
It was personally a tough time for volunteer Garza because she was receiving treatment for brain cancer. Her son, Pete, recalls, “Praying for those requests was a therapeutic and healing exercise." She would say to me, "'Prayer unites us. We have the power of the Holy Spirit.'" She passed away just a few years later.
As the number of calls increased, Johnsson, who became the WGTS chaplain, introduced an online platform on the WGTS website where listeners could submit their requests. The prayer team would gather each Wednesday for several hours to pray over the requests. Listeners were also able to view the requests and pray for other listeners, and, by 2018, listeners had prayed more than 1 million prayers for others. In addition, the WGTS staff would pray over requests each morning. It also became a tradition for WGTS staff, area pastors and members of the prayer team to be at concerts and other events to pray with people. And more recently, during the pandemic, afternoon host Stacey Stone hosts a daily live prayer time with listeners. And the WGTS staff continue to pray daily for listeners.
"When we talk about prayer, we use the phrase, 'online, on the air and on the ground,'" says Kevin Krueger, general manager. "No matter the method, engaging the Washington, D.C., region in prayer has been a priority for WGTS. It is such a blessing and honor to pray daily for our listeners, and we are so thankful for the many volunteers and staff who have been a part of this prayer ministry."