Anomalies From the Rooftop

Theology from Anomalies. One story a day from the world of Christianity that is just a little off-beat. Sometimes, in shouting the good news from the rooftop, Christians do some strange things.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Police Call for Prayers to Stop Crime

Over in the UK, the Lincolnshire branch of the Christian Police Association (C.P.A.) has started up a new program called "Prayer Watch" to help its crime fighting efforts. Apparently modeled on the "Neighborhood Watch" program employed by many local police departments, churches and Christian groups can sign-up to receive email updates containing local crime information which they can then use to focus their intercessory prayer efforts.

The Lincolnshire Police spokesman, Dick Holmes, appears not to be a member of the C.P.A. and rather skeptical of the whole idea. He told the Lincolnshire Echo that the C.P.A. is much like a support group, "a bit like the black or gay associations." Reuters also quoted him saying that the"Prayer Watch" program is designed to protect churches and congregations, which are vulnerable to crime, "but with the added bolt-on aspect of prayer."

One thing is certain: the C.P.A. would not consider prayer something that is just "bolted-on"to community policing. Nor, I'm imagine, would members of the black and gay associations claim their race or sexuality was simply something bolted on to their work and identity.

The C.P.A. has other community programs, including Adopt-a-Cop, and much of their website is focused on explaining how Christian beliefs are not incompatible with police work. But what is really unique about this "Prayer Watch" program is that the C.P.A. is seeking the public's help in making their police work more productive through the power of intercessory prayer. Much of what the C.P.A. does involves addressing the spiritual needs of Christian cops. But this program is using spiritual resources within the community to aid in fighting crime.

Actually, from a broad standpoint, "Prayer Watch" isn't much different than praying for people who or ill or in the hospital. In fact, local crime and its victims might be a useful addition to the intercessory prayers of congregations everywhere. At the very least it would help congregations feel more closely connected to their communities. And it certainly can't hurt to ask a just God for a little help here and there.


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