The Powerful Praying Women's ministry of Charlotte brings together women of all ages and races, from throughout the country and around the world.
Through various events and meetings, the women come together to encourage one another in good and difficult times, and to bless others outside of the ministry.
Terri Smalls, 45, founder of PPW, began the ministry in 2007 after relocating to south Charlotte from New York City.
After sharing her testimony online, regarding her prayers for loved ones to come to know the Lord, Smalls received responses from women worldwide praying the same prayers. This gave her the idea for the ministry, which was named after a book by Stormie Omartian.
The PPW ministry is run through a group on Meetup.com and hosts events such as prayer breakfasts, movie outings, meet and greets, a book club and empowerment workshops, as well as annual Christmas celebrations and Women's conferences. Prayer conference calls are also held with members worldwide.
Smalls, an administrative assistant for a home care agency, says her plans for the ministry include turning it into a nonprofit organization.
"It is my dream for PPW to one day have a house that will be used for various ministries daily," she says. "It is my prayer that PPW will go on to encourage and inspire women all over the world for many generations to come."
There are also plans for a PPW Big Read in Charlotte on Valentine's Day 2012, where women both in and out of the ministry are invited to read the book, "Power of a Praying Woman," and meet at a luncheon to discuss it. The luncheon also will include workshops and speakers. Smalls, who has self-published four books, also will host a series of self-publishing workshops and plans to begin offering Christian life coaching for women as well.
Smalls says she believes God put her here to encourage and inspire women. For her, the blessings from PPW are hearing about the many answered prayers and the wonderful friendships she has formed, she said.
She says one of her dearest friends is a member who lives in Tennessee, whom she has never met in person. Another dear friend whom she talked to and prayed with often over the phone unfortunately passed away before their planned first meeting at a ministry event.
"No matter what season of life you may be in today, no matter what trial you may be facing and no matter how it may look with visible eyes, never give up. Always remember this scripture from the word of God: 'But without faith it is impossible to please him for he cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).' "
Smalls lives with her 15-year-old daughter in the Berewick neighborhood of southwest Charlotte.