Charlie Jones, 71, of Tyler, underwent 43 radiation therapy treatments before becoming cancer free.
He considers surviving prostate cancer to be a huge blessing, but still battles other medical issues.
Through his recent health battles he has consistently been able to rely on his faith and the encouragement he receives by attending weekly services held by the Sonrise Prayer Ministry.
Every Thursday morning at 7 a.m. at Sweet Sue’s Restaurant, a group of about 40 Christians from various denominations and East Texas churches gather to pray, sing and receive an encouraging message during the Sonrise Prayer Breakfast.
For Jones, who has attended the Sonrise services for 10 years, the prayer and support he receives helps him get through some of his toughest times.
“They prayed for me when I went through my radiation treatments,” Jones said. “I like to come here early in the morning to get a special refreshing from the Lord.”
In 1980, William Herrington had a vision to start a prayer breakfast for fellow car salesmen and people who worked in the automobile industry. The group originally met at the Loggins Restaurant and has grown over the years and is now open to anyone in the community who would like to attend.
Herrington retired as president of the ministry in 2015 but remained faithful to the ministry up until his death last month on June 12. He was 89.
Brad Harvey, who has been a member for about 20 years, became the president of the Sonrise Ministry in 2015. He says the Sonrise Prayer Breakfast offers Christians a chance to start their morning off right.
“I would consider it as an obedient effort to any believers day to spend time with the word of God...,” Harvey said. “At the very heart of what we’re starting out our day with it is to pray for each other and for God’s will to be done in all the areas that we lift up.”
During the Sonrise Prayer Breakfast services, attendees gather in the back room of Sweet Sue’s Restaurant and participate in a church service that last about an hour. The service includes singing, preaching and opportunities for attendees to share testimonies and prayer requests. Some attendees also stay after the service and eat breakfast with each other.
“The general makeup of our group comes with the expectation that this Thursday and every Thursday (we) are going to start the day with power of prayer and the word of God,” Harvey said.
Speakers include local pastors and Sunday school teachers, as well as those from various faith-based groups and nonprofits.
The Sonrise Prayer Ministry also works to give back to the community and has worked to help nonprofits, built wheelchair ramps, helped citizens with medical expenses, food, shelter and other needs.
Harvey said he is proud of what the ministry has accomplished over the years and hopes that any visitors at the prayer breakfast will enjoy the experience and leave blessed.
“It is truly the experience of coming together as an extended family on a regular basis,” he said. “This is an ongoing engagement. This is a continuing fellowship that the more you come the more you are blessed and connected with the other members.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Sonrise Prayer Breakfast
WHEN: 7 a.m. Thursdays
WHERE: Sweet Sue’s Restaurant, 3350 SSW Loop 323, Tyler