Prayer Stop, Silver Spring’s Roadside Tiny Church

Prayer Stop in Silver Spring MD

photography by: Bohemian Baltimore/ Wikimedia Commons

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According to several estimates, there are over 30 million churches worldwide. While churches come in all shapes and sizes, one shrine in Maryland defies everything we might associate with the very term “church”. If it wasn't for its smattering of crosses, you might mistake Prayer Stop in Silver Spring with a fruit stand. Nestled along a busy throughfare, this pint-size church offers a speck of divinity for devotees and curious visitors alike.

Running through a suburban district of Silver Spring MD, New Hampshire Avenue is dotted with gas stations, fast-food restaurant and apparently, also a couple of churches. In sheer contrast to its normal-sized counterparts along the road, Prayer Stop is not an ordinary church. On first glance, an unsuspecting passerby may confuse this tiny white shed with a guardhouse or a market stand, and yet, it is a place of worship for all intents and purposes.


It is rumored that the quirky chapel was the brainchild of Dennis, a local man who in 2002, erected the tiny roadside building for motorists in critical need of praying. Story has it that Dennis was a former alcohol addict who had just managed to overcome years of hardship. As part of his endeavor to open a new chapter in life, he created a praying space for people who might feel deterred by large churches.


Outfitted with a few plastic chairs in front of its entrance, the church has enough room for only four visitors at once. The small space is incessantly echoed with Christian music, played whenever the place is open. Interestingly, Dennis proudly claims that his mini-church is also a miracle-inducing factory, citing a series of supposed revelations. Whether you opt to believe it or not, it is up for you to decide, one thing is clear though, with over 8,000 visitors annually, Prayer Stop is among Maryland’s most quirky tourist attractions.