40 Days for Peace and Prayer
City turns to prayer to reduce crime
40 days ago Sunday, area church leaders kicked off an initiative to pray for the union and protection of the Peoria area community. Residents concluded that effort Sunday night, just one day after Peoria’s first homicide of 2009. News 25’s Michelle Mantel shows us how spiritual leaders are using prayer to push away crime and bring in peace. It was a room full of faith. Hundreds of people held their spirits high for the last day of 40 Days of Prayer. This is the second year for Peoria’s 40 Days of Prayer, which some say will hopefully protect the streets and people of the Peoria area. Prayer attendee Dean Grabill said, ” I think a great sense of concern for the community also that with the crime rate and the number of homicides there has been we need to do something.” Prayer seemed to be the answer for a local drop in crime. Pastor Mike Kerby of Push for Peace said, “Last year murder was down by 2/3rds that means 3 times as many people survived.” But that was not the case for 19 year old Mario McGee, the victim of Peoria’s first homicide of the year. Authorities say he was shot in the head after a home invasion early Saturday morning. Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said, “…a very unfortunate circumstance that happened in Peoria yesterday when a young man’s life was taken. I think it was a sign from Satan saying ‘I’m going to get you’.” Pastor William Preston said, “In light of the homicide yesterday we just believe that is an attempt to distract us and we know that god is still real and still working.” People are using prayer to hopefully get answers to their cries for help, for their life and the community. Preston said, “Different races, different cultures coming all
together and that’s to see our city transform.” Police have yet to make an arrest in Mario McGee’s murder. Meanwhile, a local pastor points out that even though the city’s murder rate dropped, he says the use of illegal guns increased with shootings occurring on a routine basis. That’s why Harvey Burnett is calling on all community pastors to meet this Thursday to come up with a plan to curb crime and end what he calls a crisis.
Crime Reduced in Major Cities through Prayer-Walking
From Jacksonville, Florida to Chico, California and across the Atlantic to the UK, citizens are talking the law into their own hands–well sort of…They are prayer walking through the meanest streets of their cities for the main goal of reducing crime.
At the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs, a large group of Evangelicals meet in a Tuesday night gathering they call Revival Town. Led by The Desperation Band this band of people are a mix of prayer warriors from small, medium, and mega churches throughout Colorado–who want to see changes in their cities and towns. One of those ways is to be strategically praying for their communities by walking the streets.
In Jacksonville, Florida, churches are aligning themselves to a new movement that they hope and pray will reduce a rising wave of violent crime. At http://www.jacksonvilleprayerwalking.com a blueprint of the specific plan to mobilize over 100 prayer teams in every “sub-sector of the city.” There are six zones, according to the website with their primary mission to “Prayer walk the city to confront the current crime and murder rate of Jacksonville.” They are organizing training for participants and leaders and are involving all churches in this movement. While the Jacksonville plan is just getting started there are models in other cities that have shown a reduction in crime.
Most notably the city of Chico, California has consistently had teams of prayer-walkers since Halloween 2001. The violent crime rate has been reduced 25 percent since “intercessors began taking it to the streets.” (http://cityreaching.pbwiki.com)
In London the BBC reports that a Metropolitan Police Detective leads 25 officers through the meanest streets of his borough. Detective John Sutherland uses the usual night stick, handcuffs, and police tools yet also uses prayer throughout the community he serves to combat crime. “I believe in the power of prayer,” the 33 year old cop says, “and I believe in Jesus.” “If you pray for a criminal and he becomes a Christian, one of the impacts is that he may stop criminal behavior.” Sutherland compiles crime stats in his borough and makes a prayer list, sends it to 150 prayer warriors in the community. The BBC reports that since Sutherland has done this “street crime and burglary have fallen when prayer is in the mix.” Sutherland explains, “I have seen enough answers o prayer my life to take it beyond the point of coincidence.”
Throughout the UK a movement that is growing is the training and mobilization of Street Pastors. In Aberdeen, Scotland, Street Pastors from the Salvation Army are a constant presence of meeting practical needs, getting help for the homeless, the night revelers who have had too much to drink, and to pray for and with these people. There are over 100 teams around the UK and a documentary of the Street Pastors (youtube.com/watch?v=NokodTxj4Ts.) The no-judgmental relational approach is being hailed in reducing crime statistics as well.
In Denver, the Street School and Open Door Fellowship, has been affecting change in the city, by taking back the territory of Colfax and Marion Streets. Believers including prayer-walkers prayed specifically about taking back a high crime area, partnered with other churches and bought homes and businesses that were known by police to be crack houses, places of prostitution, and where violent crime was high. Today the block is known for ministry, halfway houses, safe homes for abused women, and a street school for the homeless who can earn a diploma. It is a success story that was birthed out of prayer walking over 20 years ago. For more information please visit http://www.envoytown.com.
Drop In Orlando Crime Rate Attributed To Prayer
Orlando police said the streets are safer, but there is no clear answer as to why.
Some said the answer is the police crackdown that is forcing the crime rate to drop, but many others believe the answer is prayer.
Orlando police said the crime rate dropped drastically last month, and some religious leaders said God should take the credit.
After holding a 40-day prayer vigil, it just so happens that same month was the slowest for killings in Orlando and Orange county.
One man said he saw proof while they prayed.
“There was a crushed up crack pipe there. I am told people don’t give those up, so that is evidence to us that God spoke to somebody’s heart,” said assistant police chaplain Michael Meyer.
Religious leaders said they were planning more initiatives all around Orange County in hopes to curb the violence in those areas as well.
Prayer Works – No Murders in Washington DC July 21-26
Reported in Christian Newswire
WASHINGTON, July 28 /Christian Newswire/ — There were no murders in Washington, D.C., from July 21 to July 26, while around the clock prayer vigils were being held under a large tent on the National Mall seeking God for a reduction in crime in the nationÕs capital.
14 murders were committed in Washington, D.C. during the first 13 days of July prompting city officials to declare a “crime emergency”.
The Christian Defense Coalition sponsored six days of around the clock prayer vigils under a large tent on the National Mall, from July 21 to July 26, seeking God to reduce the crime rate in the nation’s capital over the next six months.
The Christian Defense Coalition encourages the faith community around the country to sponsor prayer vigils in areas with high crime rates.
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, comments, “It is important to remember during times of crisis, challenge and adversity Americans should always turn to God in prayer. We are thankful that during our prayer vigils on the National Mall innocent life was protected in Washington, D.C. Our hope and prayer is that we will now see a reduction in crime, in our nation’s capital, over the next six months. Through the years, prayer has changed the course of history and helped reduce human suffering around the world. We encourage the faith community to step out of their comfort zones and safety and move boldly into the public square in response to pressing social concerns. God has called Christians to engage culture–not to run from it.”
Crime Drop in Minnesota
We have seen people delivered from tobacco and alcohol. The crime rate was so high the police had declared the immediate area out of control. Yet we’ve seen the entire block cleared of crime centers. The houses used for this purpose are now vacant and boarded up for sale. – Minnesota
Crime, Suicide, Unemployment Drop in California
We gather baseline stats from public agencies such as the county sheriff and state patrol, county coroner, and local hospital, as well as from the employment development agency. Transforming Prayer in 2006 was conducted from February 2 through May 4, 2006. At the end of that time we returned to the same agencies for updated stats so that we could proclaim what God had done during the time of prayer. In 2006 part 1 crime in the county areas went down by 22% as compared to an 11% drop in 2005 (whole year) and a 22% drop in the prayer period for 2004. Suicides were reduced by about 10%. Unemployment was reduced by 1.1% – a significant reduction considering the 7% overall rate that was in force for parts of 2005 in our county. In the public health arena we saw traffic fatalities reduced by 40%, cancer admissions to Mercy Hospital down by 58%, and youth deaths from all (sudden) causes were down by at least 50% . – Jim (California)
Statistics on Americans and Prayer
- 88% of Americans Pray
- 82% believe in the healing power of prayer
- 78% say prayer is an important part of daily life
- 63% pray often
- 25% pray occasionally
- 65% believe they have had specific prayers answered
- 79% say praying speeds recovery
(C) 2009 Barna Research Group
Barna Research Group