If you’re near the Wabash County Courthouse some Monday morning and you approach the house at 78 W. Hill St., you might not be surprised by the first statement you’ll be greeted with if you’ve been paying attention to the lawn signs posted all around the block.

“Can I pray for you?”

That’s because the signs read: “NEED PRAYER? Open for PRAYER TODAY”.

Starting Monday, Oct. 5, the prayer house became open to the public, with no appointment needed from 8 to 10 a.m. Mondays, except holidays, according to Angela Penix.

Penix said COVID-19 precautions will be taken in the form of masks being worn by prayer house representatives and social distancing.

Raking the leaves off the house’s porch Monday morning was Debbie Sweet, co-founder of Common Ground Prayer House.

Sweet said they been running the prayer ministry for about nine years.

Sweet said the original intention was to prayer 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

“It became burdensome to try to get people to come, and so we decided that maybe that’s not exactly what God’s vision is for this ministry,” said Sweet.

Sweet said they had originally been located on Manchester Avenue, but was able to acquire this particular house, which is “uniquely positioned” across from the Courthouse.

“We feel like God would like for us to just reach out to those folks who may have special needs in regard to their court hearings and whatever,” said Sweet.

Sweet said one of the verses they had founded their ministry on was Isaiah 62:6, which reads, “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest.”

“It’s like we’re the watchmen for our city, praying for our city,” said Sweet.

Sweet said from the upstairs window they could look down on the Courthouse, churches, the Wabash County Jail and more.

“We are just so uniquely placed for a view looking over our town,” said Sweet. “We love that if you want to utilize that vision while you’re praying that you see these things that we are blessed to have in our community.”

Sweet said oftentimes people ask them to pray for health.

“Last week, we prayed for a gal who recently had heart surgery,” said Sweet.

Other times, visitors have more legalistic concerns.

“Today we prayed with a gal who said, ‘Court stuff.’ It’s private. And so we just respect that and we know that God knows whatever their matter is, and so we pray whatever they ask us,” said Sweet.

Sweet said they were still getting to the location and make connections with those they see walking around.

“We’re just trying to see if it will take off,” said Sweet.

Sweet said it’s only been about one person a week that they’ve we prayed with.

Sweet said they the time just observing who is around, or praying silently amongst themselves.

“This morning we were really led to pray for our judges. They’re in a huge responsible position, and we were just praying for them and the different ways that we were led to pray for them,” said Sweet.

For more information, call Jennifer Mahan at 260-571-8063, Shirley Neale at 260-591-0047 or Sweet at 260-571-6072.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplain