Impromptu Rally Brings Community Together in Prayer
About a month ago, a mother and her 4 year-old son were killed in their home in Zionsville, Ind. Two weeks after this tragic event, a family walked along the sidewalk outside of Otterbein UMC where they noticed something out of place on the sidewalk. A further look confirmed an array of heroin needles - highlighting the ever growing drug problem in their neighborhood. A week later, pornographic images of a child from the local high school were shared and going viral. And still a few days later a juvenile stabbed a 19 year-old multiple times in the chest.
As their town began to overflow with with crime and pressing social issues, pastors Anthony Stone of Centenary UMC and Jared Kendall of Otterbein UMC in Lebanon Ind. decided to fight, with prayer. After a few quick emails it was planned; an impromptu prayer rally at the courthouse. Stone, a chaplain for the Boone County Sheriff’s Department extended the invitation to their local law enforcement to join them. This resulted in the Boone County Sheriff, and the Chief of Police for the Lebanon Police Department along with other law enforcement showing up hopeful at the sight of such a positive response to weeks of tragic events. A total of 75 individuals showed up ready to pray for their community. The rally was held at noon since it would be a convenient time for those attending during their lunch hour and also because they would be praying in a very visible, public space during a busy time of day.
The rally began with corporate prayer, afterwards the large group broke up into smaller prayer groups of 6–8 people. In each small group, a pastor guided a time of open prayer in which there was great participation. After small group prayer, the group marched 5 blocks from the courthouse to the location where the stabbing occurred just 36 hours earlier, leaving a 19 year-old in life-threatening condition. Emotions were high as excitement grew at the thought of how prayer could positively impact their community along with dreams of something more, something better for their town.
In the days following this impactful event, more than 30 individuals that did not attend this prayer rally have inquired about whether or not another prayer rally will be planned concluding what we already know; prayer is contagious. There are hopes for a monthly prayer rally that will spread far and deep into the communities served by Otterbein UMC and Centenary UMC to include other faith communities and organizations.
“What was most impactful was realizing how much of this spread because of a few emails and word of mouth,” said Anthony Stone. The quick response and impact of this event is a testament to the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit working to meet the needs of the people. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers.
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