Call to Prayer for Healing in Our Nation
March 7 marked the 50th anniversary of what is remembered as "Bloody Sunday." On that date in 1965, some Alabama state troopers viciously beat black citizens marching for voting rights in Selma. Televised images of the attacks shocked the nation and catalyzed the introduction and eventual passage of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Our nation has made tremendous progress on race relations since that time. We have taken strides toward becoming a nation where, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed, people are judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. But we still have a ways to go.
The shooting of two law enforcement officers at a protest in Ferguson, Missouri, Wednesday night reminds us of a complementary truth: The pursuit of justice in society cannot be accomplished with violence. Dr. King recognized this, which is why he advocated nonviolent means of social change.
We recognize that the spirit of lawlessness works in many ways: through unjust systems as well as violent individuals. Therefore, in light of recent events, I call on Assemblies of God churches this Sunday or at subsequent times to pray for our nation. Specifically:
- Pray for the healing of racial divisions in our country.
- Pray for the safety of our law enforcement officials - especially for the speedy recovery of the two officers wounded in Ferguson.
- Pray that churches would take a leading role in bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ, so communities are transformed, leading to reconciliation, justice, and peace - especially in Ferguson, which has seen so much conflict over the past seven months.
And then, after prayer, I urge pastors - if they have not already done so - to take concrete steps to build relationships:
- To contact pastors at other churches - including other Assemblies of God congregations - whose racial and ethnic makeup is different than their own and to ask how you can pray for and help them.
- To contact local chiefs of police to let them know you are praying for the safety of their officers.
In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus Christ taught us that we are salt and light. Let us, as salt, preserve what is best in our communities. And let us, as light, shine on the path toward reconciliation to God and justice and peace among our neighbors.