Prayer garden at The Salvation Army

Jimmy McAfee, left, and Stephen Thomas, director of The Salvation Army Service Center in Lewisville, stand next to the prayer garden McAfee created.

A dedicated volunteer has created a beautiful public prayer garden at The Salvation Army in Lewisville.

2020 has seen great physical needs for the community, and Jimmy McAfee, Flower Mound resident and Salvation Army volunteer, wanted to give focus to the spiritual aspects of life, assembling the garden, in part, as a thank you for God’s provision.

Covering more than 1,000 square feet and including five home-poured concrete benches, a bubbler rock at the foot of a cross, and more than 100 plants, the prayer garden reflects the love that motivates The Salvation Army’s ministry in Lewisville and provides a place of tranquility, peace and prayer for the community.

A prayer garden filled with more than 100 plants at The Salvation Army now stands at the entrance to Old Town Lewisville, thanks to the vision, dedication and hard work of a volunteer.

“As the pandemic shut down the regular activities of my life, I wanted to use that time doing something special,” McAfee said. “The idea for a prayer garden grew out of the desire to share with my community how incredible God is and how much He loves us. The beauty of the garden reflects the love and motivation behind The Salvation Army’s ministry here in Lewisville.”

Measuring 1,000 square feet, the garden is a place where anyone is welcome. It includes a range of Texas-native plants, five hand-poured concrete benches, an olive tree, and a bubbler rock at the foot of the cross that stays lit throughout the day and night.

“The construction of the prayer garden was a community effort. I’m an engineer at heart and as far as a garden is concerned, I don’t know a grass from a tree,” McAfee said. “I called in family and friends who could dream big and have vision. I sketched things out and at every point I needed someone who knew how to complete a specific task, they were always right there to help.”

The garden has been met with huge community acceptance. Those who come to The Salvation Army regularly for lunch have enjoyed eating beside the garden. People walking and even driving by have stopped and spent a moment in the garden enjoying the plants, bubbling water and the peace and quiet.

“My hopes are that it just physically changes the city. I think it is powerful that as you come into Old Town Lewisville the first thing you see is a cross that reminds you what Jesus did for us, and then you get an invitation to be still and spend time in prayer,” McAfee said. “I’m excited about the future of the garden because of The Salvation Army and the impact they will have on the thousands of people who pass by every day.”

The prayer garden has already become a favorite spot for Salvation Army staff, volunteers, and clients. “I’ve seen people I don’t recognize out there in the garden. We’ve also had community and city leaders visit and their response has been amazing,” said Stephen Thomas, director of The Salvation Army Service Center in Lewisville. “This used to be a forgotten corner of our property and it’s now a place of reconciliation, restoration, and communion. It’s hard to believe the transformation that has taken place.”

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