‘You will never get lost’ in Washington resident’s prayer garden

Published 12:02 pm Monday, May 17, 2021

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As quiet visitors took their first steps into her prayer garden, Washington resident Eloise Evans murmured one of her favorite encouragements: “You will never get lost and it doesn’t matter what you lay down, because God will handle it with you.”

The event was scheduled, but that was the only formality during a recent visit by members of Women at the Well, a local prayer and fellowship effort that has met since 2017. They were one of countless visitors welcomed by Evans since 2010, when she built the circular pathway that, traditionally, is referred to as a labyrinth.

“My mom loved plants. My parents both knew the Latin names for all of this,” Evans said of her “prayer garden”, which is a mix of her favorite flowers and herbs, decorating a circular pathway that she first read about in Guideposts Magazine. “The Holy Spirit dropped it into my mind. I started researching it 20 years ago, just knew I was supposed to do it, and didn’t even know what it was called. I just knew it was a garden that you walked in for prayer.”

Evans tells visitors that the labyrinth has existed in one way or another for thousands of years and is mostly known as a vehicle for “contemplative walk”, with participation by Christians dating back to the middle ages.

“There has been quite a lot of controversy about so-called alternative uses for labyrinths, but this one is dedicated to the Lord. It’s another tool, another way to pray,” said Evans, who is a member of Harvest Church.

Evans’ first attempt at a prayer path featured a stone-lined circular route to a center point, featuring “healing herbs” that Evans learned about from her parents.

“Now I research all my plants,” she said of the deeper dive for information that grew apace with her interest.

The garden is just steps from her house and only one plot away from her parents’ former home. Flowers and herbs are changed seasonally. A mosaic stepping stone marks the center, where walkers can “stop, lay down whatever they brought, thank Jesus for what they’ve received in return, then turn around and return to everyday life a little lighter, wiser, and at peace about the process of walking with God.”

As clouds deepened, the breeze strengthened, and thunder rumbled in her yard, Evans quickly confirmed that all her loving labor has been worth it for the countless visitors who take that walk. Echoing that endorsement, one of her newest pilgrims said, “If we’re going to get struck by lightning, we may as well be in the prayer garden!”

Walks in the prayer garden must be scheduled. Evans can be reached at 252-946-1001 to set a time and receive travel directions.