Is this actual news? Or is the Times Union doing an early April Fool's post? Or maybe Sergius Martin-George is writing satire pieces for my local paper?
Some of you may wonder what "prayer walking" is. It is just that: walking around a geographical area and praying. I'm told missionaries do this before they start evangelizing. In fact, the Southern Baptists provide training in how to "prayer walk". Books have been written. Downloadable prayer walking resources are available.
Now, in Jacksonville, prayer walking is reducing crime. From the Times Union article, here is how they do it:
Yes, house 528, we pray for your protection. Unless of course inside the house are non-tithers, a Christian blogger, or militant homosexuals. In that case, God is going to get them."On Wednesday, Owen, John Twomey and Dwayne Kirby walked up the 500 block of East 59th Street praying over homes. They stopped in front of each one, bowed their heads and took turns saying prayers. “Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for today, thank you for your love,” Kirby said in front of one home. 'We pray for house 528, pray that souls will come in, we pray for your protection over this house. We love you.' "
This raises just a few questions:
Is walking around praying really fighting crime?
If there is even a hint of truth that prayer walking is helping reduce crime, why not hire more "pray walkers" instead of cops?
Will prayer walking help end world hunger and global warming?
Can we lower gas prices by prayer walking around gas stations?
Should you and I pray walk around our houses so that our T-111 siding will not rot and decay, or that our fridge will last longer?
Should we tell our boss that one of our initiatives to increasing profitability of the company is the employees need to prayer walk around the company headquarters' building?
If this is working, then our city should hire the Southern Baptists to train everyone on how to "prayer walk" so we can fight crime more effectively in Jacksonville.
Like I said, I'm all for prayer, and if citizens want to organize and prayer walk, that is great. Getting out and walking around - praying or not praying - very well might lower crime, especially if one is praying while carrying a 0.38 caliber gun with a concealed weapon permit.
But when the newspaper reports prayer walking crime fighting measures as news, and the Sheriff begins to insinuate that this is a legitimate crime fighting measure, well, I get a little embarrassed for my city.
"On Wednesday, Sheriff John Rutherford stood in Panama Park and praised the effort, a faith-based initiative that he said is one of a handful of community partnerships with the Sheriff’s Office that helps combat crime.There is nothing biblical about this, nothing in scripture says that praying for houses is going to lower crime in a neighborhood.
'I can tell you crime is down in double digits in this neighborhood after this initiative,' Rutherford said."
The same logic can be used in building a cement lighthouse downtown: it sure decreased the rate of shipwrecks on our city streets to near zero.