‘… pray without ceasing…’ (1 Thess. 5:17)
I know and work with many police officers. My first big assignment when I joined County government was to put together a security plan for the downtown with two police departments. To a person, these officers were courageous, caring, and conscientious, and I never saw or heard anything that gave me any concern about how they would be taking care of others.
Even though I have the highest regard for our police officers, I have been deeply grieved and appalled by so many acts of brutality that some officers have inflicted upon those they were trained and pledged to protect. Like every profession, there are some officers who have made some serious mistakes, and there are also some who don’t have the right temperament or self-control to serve in this capacity.
This week I ran into one of my police officer friends, who also happens to be Black. I said to him, “Miss seeing you. Hope you have been doing OK?”
He said, “Miss seeing you, too. Been alright.”
I said, “With everything going on in the news, I have been thinking about my friends in law enforcement, especially those who are, like you, Black.”
He looked at me a long time and then said, “Your words mean a lot. Thank you.”
I said, “I am praying for you all.”
He said, “Don’t stop! We all need to be praying for each other, no matter our color. All of God’s children need God’s help.”
As he said those words, the few people in the lobby where we were speaking stopped and nodded. A couple of them even said, “Amen.”
I believe that the only way we are going to work through all the pain and fear and misunderstandings is for us to remember that “all of God’s children need God’s help.” I also believe that today’s scripture imploring us to “pray without ceasing” is something we need to be doing for each other, regardless of our color or our political persuasions.
We need the police to protect us. The police need our appreciation and support. And we, as a society, need to commit to implementing police reform. We need this reform for all of our citizens who need to be safe regardless of their color, and for our police officers who are putting their lives on the line for us.
- If you had been standing in the lobby the day that officer and I had our interchange, how would you have responded?
- If we prayed for each other across all of our boundaries, disagreements, and political divisions, how do you think things could change in our country?
- Moving forward, what will you be praying for?