Kerrville's Joan Cortez was in church last Sunday when the message delivered by Southern Oaks Church Pastor Joe Taylor struck her with inspiration.
Taylor's quoted bestselling author John Maxwell, who aims to create better leaders, when he told the congregation that, "as the challenge before us escalates, the need for teamwork elevates."
Taylor's sermon resonated with Cortez, a witness to many who have struggled with COVID-19. For weeks, the Peterson Regional Medical Center staff have been under the intense pressure of caring for dozens of COVID-19 patients.
"I was in my home church this last Sunday worshipping and praying for a friend's spouse who is in the ICU of Peterson Hospital," Cortez said in an email. "I know so many people who are battling this virus."
Her inspiration was simple. Create a prayer ring around Peterson Regional Medical Center. That's exactly what will happen at 6 p.m. Thursday when people can gather to pray for the hospital staff.
"God put it in my heart to unite our community in prayer for all those being affected by this virus, including the doctors and staff of the hospital, and the families of those in our community who have lost loved ones," Cortez said.
It's a simple ask — walk around the hospital seven times, offering seven minutes of prayer.
"I remembered one summer at camp where we studied particularly about the Old Testament account ofJericho," Cortez said. "Joshua led the people of God to walk around the wall of Jericho 7 times. Sometimes we just need to do something while we pray in order to stay focused. God put it in my heart to walk around the hospital seven times and pray seven minutes."
For the last five days, 40 people or more were hospitalized with COVID-19 — accounting for nearly half of Peterson's total beds. To Cortez and others, the power of prayer is a simple way of saying thank you to Peterson's staff's hard work and dedication.
"The more I grow in faith the more I realize that God uses normal people who just rely on Him to do amazing miraculous things," Cortez wrote. "God asks us for action. As I sat listening to Pastor Joe's message from God the more God confirmed to me the idea of bringing our community together. So, I stepped out in faith. I believe that God wants to do something amazing in our community."