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Coffee Cups Fueling Prayer Life of Montana Pastor

For Montana pastor Josh Barnhart, his love of coffee sparked a creative way to grow in the discipline of praying without ceasing.
For many Americans, the busyness of schedules often pushes prayer to the bottom of the priority list. Instead of the continual, unbroken communion with God it was intended to be, it becomes an afterthought or a last resort. However, one Montana pastor is taking a creative approach to growing his prayer life by turning a daily habit into a visual reminder to pray without ceasing throughout his day.

Josh M. Barnhart, associate pastor of Ennis Assembly of God in Ennis, Montana, has been in the ministry for 10 years. A graduate of Global University and an ordained minister since 2018, Barnhart states that there was a time when he almost gave up on God’s call on his life.

“Early on, I walked through something really big that almost caused me to give up on my calling. But the thing that got me through was the people in my life who stuck by me and prayed me through it,” he says.

Ever since that difficult journey, Barnhart states that he has clung to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

“No matter what we’re walking through, there is always something to praise God for and something to pray for,” he states.

Now, at 33 years old, Barnhart has been given a burden to lift up others in prayer with more intentionality and grow in the practice of continual prayer.

“At the beginning of 2024, I knew I really wanted to increase my prayer life. I wanted to think outside the box about how I pray and grow in that area,” he recalls. “One morning I saw my coffee cup collection and that sparked the idea.”

An avid coffee drinker, Barnhart decided to use state-specific and country-specific coffee cups from around the world to serve as an all-day reminder to pray for pastors, missionaries, leaders, and churches in that area.

“I had several cups on top of my fridge so I started with those. I just began to pray each time I filled my coffee cup during the day that God would meet the needs of that particular network, the pastors in that area, and the people who needed to hear the gospel.”

Recently, Barnhart asked others on social media to send him a coffee cup from their area along with ways in which he could pray for them. His idea was a hit. Barnhart has received several coffee cups and knows of more that are on the way.

The coffee-cup prayer idea has spread through the Barnhart family and he hopes to turn it into a regular time of discipleship for himself, his wife, and his two young children.

“Each morning [the kids] have a cup of milk and we have our coffee. My goal is to regularly get into the routine of praying for missionaries and pastors together as we have our morning time. I think it is going to be a great way to help instill the practice of prayer into their lives,” Barnhart states.

Assistant General Superintendent Rick DuBose states that becoming a person of continual prayer takes persistence but is absolutely possible.

“This kind of prayer,” he states, “lays down with us when we sleep and rises with us as we begin each new day. It is in every sense a constant conversation with God.”

Praying continually, he shares, starts at the beginning of the day as we worship, as we read the Bible, and as we listen to His voice through His word. Often, we will discover that what He began to say to us in the morning, through the word and the Spirit, will continue to be impressed on our hearts all day, he says.

“Then, when I find myself in need of his help or direction, I don’t need to start a conversation, or prayer, I’m already in it!” says DuBose.

For Barnhart, he hopes this small step of creativity will further develop a lifestyle of continual prayer. He also hopes by reaching out to others about coffee cups, he will encourage those around him to find unique ways to do the same with whatever hobbies or passions the Lord has given them.

“No matter what,” says DuBose, “take time to start a conversation with the Lord when you get up. Then see how long you can keep the conversation going. One day soon you will realize that you just spent the whole day with the Lord!”

Ashley B. Grant

Ashley B. Grant has a master's degree in Human Services Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty University and is a credentialed Christian counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors. Grant also holds certifications in crisis pregnancy counseling and advanced life coaching. Ashley is a fourth generation Assemblies of God preacher’s kid and has one daughter and three sons.