The Winston-Salem Citywide Prayer Breakfast is an open-community event where locals congregate under one large roof and unify in the power of prayer, faith and the name of Jesus. This city was built on prayer, and the annual Citywide Prayer Breakfast is an ideal way to preserve the spiritual legacy of Winston-Salem!
How it all began?
Winston-Salem is birthed on a move of the Holy Spirit. The courageous, spirit-led founders of this city were prompted to devote themselves to a movement in which they prayed for 24 hours—by hourly intercession—for over 100 years! During this iconic movement, God sent a wave of His glory over those praying believers and a spiritual revival took place. These people were known to pray and desire a divine encounter with God whenever their best human efforts to impact the community had been exhausted. They were transformed by the power of God and left testimonies for those divine transformations through storytelling, visual art, writing, and music.
Because of this spiritual legacy, Winston-Salem has a call to pray. Our city is led to carry on this long-running tradition of community prayer. This is what paved the avenue towards the Annual Citywide Prayer Breakfast of Winston-Salem. This event was established 6 years ago and was inspired by a mission trip to Lebanon by a group of men from the New Canaan Society (NCS) of Winston-Salem. Just a few years ago, the wife of Frank Harrison, CEO of Coca Cola Consolidated in Charlotte, spoke at a Charlotte prayer breakfast which attracted 3,000 attendees! Frank then wanted NCS to connect with The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Winston-Salem in hopes of starting a similar citywide prayer breakfast in Winston-Salem.
Jay Helvey, one of the co-founders of the Citywide Prayer Breakfast of Winston-Salem, and Kalim Andraos invited Curt Hazelbaker, former CEO of the YMCA in Winston-Salem, to attend the prayer breakfast in Charlotte. After they came back to Winston-Salem, they agreed to start a similar event. They invited Chuck Spong from Love Out Loud to join NCS and YMCA as co-sponsors. “This would ensure a non-denominational broad coalition of Christians and others willing to gather and pray for our city,” says Helvey. Some other committee members include Stan Law, president and CEO of YMCA Northwest, Virginia Hardesty, owner of Forsyth Seafood, and Holli Billings, administrative assistant and project manager of NCS. And out of this was birthed the Citywide Prayer Breakfast in Winston-Salem, with a collective vision of helping our city fluorish!
What do we pray for?
The leaders of any community help shape the economic, educational, spiritual, environmental, and physical health of their city. A leader’s job is never an easy, but always a rewarding one, especially when their visions are actualized. So, once every year, a huge number of Winston-Salem natives congregate in one place and pray mainly for the leaders of the city. These leaders include teachers, local politicians, non-profit organizers, businessmen and business women, pastors and ministers, justice leaders and law-enforcement leaders. The attendees also pray for local residents to find jobs and for healthcare companies to provide their best services.
Why come to this year’s prayer breakfast?
“It is encouraging!” declares Helvey. It is an opportunity for Christians of diverse denominations to unite under one purpose: to serve God, worship, build our community and pray for our city. This is an event experienced not only by city locals, but different city leaders in Winston, such as the mayor, community leaders, and city officials, get to attend as well! The citywide prayer breakfast also includes powerful speakers. Some past speakers of the annual event included Jim Morgan, former CEO of Krispy Kreme; Tamrat Layne, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia; and Cynthia Garrett, author of Prodigal Daughter: A Journey Home to Identity.
Catch this year’s speaker, Tim Lowe, who is President of Lowes Foods. The event will take place on April 30th at 7:00 am at Benton Convention Center. For more information regarding this event, visit www.ymcanwnc.org/cpb/.
Our city remains unified because of the spiritual legacy we want to keep alive through the power of prayer and community. “A city that serves together, breaks bread together, and prays together, is a city that flourishes,” maintains Helvey.