KERRVILLE, Texas — The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden adorns the top of a hill at one of the city’s biggest crossroads, near I-10 and Highway 16.
A giant empty cross reaches for the heavens, but it is those on Earth who benefit.
Max Greiner, Jr., who designed the garden and created several of its signature sculptures, said “It's about peace. It's about love and joy, and God can fix anything. This world is so messed up right now that people need hope."
It is hope for the masses. This year, more than 137,000 people came to pray, heal and look to a brighter future, each in their own way. Greiner believes next year the garden will see more than 150,000 guests.
"It's all nondenominational. It is about Jesus, but everybody is welcome. No matter what your belief system is, or no belief system. Come up and see what people are discovering up here this mountain," Greiner said.
While there are always volunteer guides on hand to answer questions, Greiner said one of the main attractions of the park is that there is never a push to preach to visitors.
“No. No. Not at all, actually, that's what is unique. This is a place where you can encounter God by yourself,” Greiner said.
Three friends enjoying a school holiday who braved the damp chill to visit the sight, agreed that it is worth the trip.
“It's like a little peaceful thing to do," Allison Fichter said.
Her friend Megan Miller said because her family has a ranch in the area, she has driven past the location many times, but on her first visit, she declared it beautiful. “It's really gorgeous. It took a lot of work to put this together,” Miller said.
Quinn McKinley said after losing her mother and sister, she wanted to come to grow in faith.
“For a little while, I’ve been struggling with faith and that sort of thing, so the I saw the prayer rocks and I wrote one of my own,” McKinley said.
In addition to the estimated $3 million dollars’ worth of sculptures displayed on the grounds, the pathways are lined with limestone rocks of various sizes. There are stations along the path with markers and guests are encouraged to select a rock, write a message of faith, and leave it to inspire others.
The rocks offer messages of hope and gratitude, for lives spared, families reunited and healthy miracles.
Miller said “It helps you grow in your faith and it just really touches your heart.”
"It gives people a chance to find God without having to go through organized religion," Greiner said. "Organized religion has messed up a whole lot of things in this world. And yet you can find the real thing, because God is real."
The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to midnight.
For more information, visit their website.