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Friday, 29 January 2010

An official recognition of the efficacy of prayer?

Today’s issue of The Independent newspaper has a very interesting article – and almost half-a-page – headed “£10,000 grant for Christian police – who believe prayer can cut crime”. I hope that the headline grabbed the attention of many, and that they went on to read the article!

The Christian Police Association wants members of the public to “adopt-a-cop” by praying for the safety of local officers as they patrol their beats. The article recounts a couple of situations in which, it is claimed, the prayer support of local disciples of Jesus made a substantial difference in either the identification and charging of a suspect, or a drop in the instance of a specific crime (burglary, in the situation noted) within a particular area.

Of course, due credit is given to good police work but …!!!

Reference is also made to Street Pastors – the movement, founded by Les Isaacs, whose members patrol city streets into “the wee sma’ oors” (until very early in the morning, for those who require a translation!) http://www.streetpastors.co.uk/ They help drunken revellers; diffuse gang tensions; and, in conjunction with the local police officers, play a major part in keeping the streets safe.
As a (new) police chaplain, I had already noted the formation of a team of Street Pastors in my ‘patch’ as something in which I could possibly become involved. I will certainly be contacting the local representative of the CPA to find out if we might work together on that! However, any of us can start, today, to pray for our local officers – by name, for any whom we know at a personal level – and for Street Pastors wherever they may be operating. Neither group needs to know. It is enough that we play our part, and allow God the Holy Spirit to play His.

Paul’s exhortation to Timothy was to “…pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God's mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Saviour, for He wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” (I Tim.2:1-4). As we support our police officers in prayer, who would dare to say that God would not only work in our areas, but also in the hearts of those for whom we pray?!

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