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Prayer board

Lydia Murphy smiles with one of her prayer boards. Photo from Cathy McGoldrick

One young Huntington resident decided to take an individual religion project and turn it into a community-wide effort.

Lydia Murphy was assigned a confirmation class project at Centerport United Methodist Church, where she takes religion classes. Students were encouraged to take part in community service activities, but in Lydia’s case, she created her own initiative: A prayer board that any member of the community can contribute to.

“I came up with this idea because there’s a lot of negativity going on right now, all over the country and the world,” Lydia said in a phone interview. “I thought it would be a nice way to bring some peace.”

The eighth-grade student described the project as boards that anyone can come with a sharpie and write a positive prayer for whoever and whatever they want.

Lydia, her family and other members of the parish ended up creating two prayer boards, one located at the front of the Methodist church on Little Neck Road, and one on the path that leads to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs on Prospect Road. Lydia said Riverhead Building company donated the wood supplies needed to construct the boards.

“It was so wonderful to hear this idea coming from a 13-year-old,” Pastor Roy Grubbs said in a phone interview. “It’s tremendous, putting together ideas with other clergies and different denominations and faiths to pray communally. Given the state of what we hear of tensions or a lack of experience sharing within even our community, this can show commonality and how we hold the same things important: peace, love and understanding.”

Lydia said since the boards have gone into place, she has seen many different things written on them.

“People have been praying for Syria, for their grandparents, for safe travels with their family,” she said. “A lot of people have prayed for peace in the community. It makes me really happy, and I’m a little relieved people are using it.”

Lydia said she was surprised how quickly residents started using the prayer boards.

“The first day, within a half hour of putting it up, someone brought a piece of paper and pinned up their prayer,” she said. “It’s nice to see that people are using it and praying for all different groups of people.”

Lydia’s mother, Lynn Murphy, said she was happy with her daughter for her persistence with the idea.

“It’s fabulous, the fact that people are using it,” she said. “I’m as proud as a mother could be, it’s just such a positive thing. I’m proud of her and how the church embraced the idea.”

Grubbs said he’s excited for the potential of the idea as it continues to grow.

“People have definitely been noticing it, they’re already filling it up,” he said. “This opportunity to share what’s inside your heart will strengthen the community.”

At the dedication ceremony earlier this month Lydia said she was excited for the potential her project has.

“If this makes one person happy or brings them peace, then it works,” she said. “I pray that this board brings happiness and positivity to everyone in the community.”