Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Prayer for Safer Streets Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Prayer for Safer Streets Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

Most of us would say it's especially important to feel that we live in a safe place. To know that we can walk the streets freely. When something threatening happens, safety takes on new importance to us. I saw this not long ago.

In the middle of the day as I was out walking, I suddenly became aware that a truck had come up from behind me. It was on the wrong side of the street. The driver asked me directions to the local high school, but when I told him to go to a certain way, he said he was new in the area and asked me to tell him where the street was. I noticed that he was acting rather strangely, so I just kept walking and indicated it was the next street to the right. At this, he drove off - in the wrong direction!

Although I wasn't exactly afraid, I was alerted by his actions and thought it was best to report the incident to the police when I got home. They told me that they had been looking for this man for some time, and that he had already committed two felonies that day. Immediately, I thought of what I had been reading and hearing in the news about the early release of criminals from their sentences, and especially about the concern citizens have over the presence of convicted sex offenders in their communities. Now, when I encounter a disturbing situation such as this, my first inclination is to pray - to turn to my heavenly Father, God, for protection. I pray to see what God is knowing. I saw this incident as a reminder to pray for the safety of myself, my neighbors, and the whole neighborhood. And, while prayer in no way pardons or condones a criminal offense, it must bless everyone - even the offender. I feel I have seen evidence of this; as a chaplain for many years in various penal institutions, I can confirm that prayer which includes a deep-felt confidence in God's absolute control can help to arrest criminal behavior and to release offenders from downward and self-defeating life patterns. My prayer usually consists of acknowledging God's constant care for all. The Bible says in Psalms, "The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works" (145:9). …

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