Throughout the U.S., faith leaders—and a five-year-old boy—are challenging their communities to pray for law enforcement, the National Guard, and others who are serving our country. On Wednesday, religious leaders and community activists in California gathered to pray for two deputies shot while on duty in Compton.
“Bless them and keep them in the name of Jesus,” said one man, who was joined by others on a prayer team in front St. Francis Hospital in Lynwood, California. “[We] give you all the praise and all the glory, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
Assistant Sheriff Robin Limon and Capt. John Burcher participated in the time of prayer and thanked those gathered for their support. Said Limon, “I appreciate all the prayers, well-wishes, and good words from everyone that has come out to support our deputies, part of our law enforcement family, part of our extended family. We are all part of the community, and I appreciate it so much.”
Two L.A County sheriff’s deputies were sitting in their patrol vehicle Saturday, when a gunman walked up and shot both of them. Both survived, and are projected to make full recoveries. So far, one deputy has been released from the hospital. The deputies, a 31-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, had both been sworn in only 14 months ago. The shooter is still at large.
Faith leaders in the community have condemned the gunman’s actions. Michael Fisher, Pastor of Greater Zion Church Family in Compton, told NBC Los Angeles, “The faith community should always stand up for those who have been done wrong and right now those two deputies have been done wrong. Because behind the badge, that is a mother. Behind the badge, that is a sister, it’s a daughter. It’s a brother. It’s a son.” Community activist Sweet Alice Harris, who led the prayer team, said, “We are divided and now we gonna get back together. We gonna stop this mess.”
Nampa Pastor Leads People to Pray for Law Enforcement
It is violence like this that compelled Valley Springs Assembly of God Pastor Craig Hanson to start a weekly prayer group in front of the local police department in Nampa, Idaho. “I just saw everything that was going on in our nation and then in the cities around us, and the states around us,” he said. “And it’s just that there is a strong negative move that’s going on.”
Every Tuesday at 12 p.m., the group meets in front of the Nampa Police Department and prays for the officers, as well as for areas of need such as the upcoming elections and the wildfires raging in the western part of the country. One prayer group attendee named Dennis Friesen said, “The nation needs prayer…if more of us prayed and asked God to help us to do the right thing, that would help our nation.”
The Nampa Police Department has expressed its gratitude on Facebook, saying, “We are humbled. Thank you.”
Elsewhere in the country, pastors are leading in similar ways. On Tuesday, Pastor Doug Lovett of Faith Baptist Church hosted a prayer service in Waskom, Texas. During the service, participants prayed for first responders, the military, and law enforcement.
“Every time you see that ambulance go out, every time you hear the fire truck, know that they’re going to help somebody,” said James Runnels, chaplain of Emergency Services District No. 3 in Scottsville, Texas. “Pray for the people they’re going to help, and pray for those men and women that will be encountering who knows what.”
A five-year-old boy in Louisville, Kentucky, did not need an organized event to prompt him to pray for a national guardsman on duty at the Kentucky Derby Saturday. The city had called in the National Guard to monitor protestors who appeared at the Derby, which is what Kentucky National Guard Specialist Dan Otterson was doing when a woman walked up with a little boy who wanted to talk to him.