“My Hope Is That God Will Hear Us Tonight”: Praying for Baltimore

Some things are beyond our power to fix, says Pastor Michael Crawford, but his hope is the hope of the Scriptures.

By Anika Smith Published on April 28, 2015

ANIKA SMITH — BALTIMORE — Tonight East Baltimore was choked with smoke from a 3-alarm fire that engulfed a new senior center across the street from a Southern Baptist church, where 60 parishioners watched, weeping. According to the Baltimore Sun:

Deanetrice Fleming, 43, of Northwood formed a prayer group off to the side of the fire, and together, she and other church members held hands and prayed.

“Save our city,” Fleming said. “Rescue us, oh God!”

Fleming said the church members are shocked at the violence in the city and the loss of the building, but she pointed at the sky and said, “Vengeance is his, not mine.”

“There is so much hurting, so they’re acting out and we need to come together,” she said.

Pastors in other parts of Baltimore opened up churches and invited their people to come and pray for the city. At Freedom Church Baltimore, Pastor Michael Crawford opened the sanctuary for parishoners who prayed alone and in groups. Prayers were in different languages, but all were imploring God’s mercy on the city.

“It’s the only hope I have,” Crawford told me. “When I look at myself honestly, and I look at the hundreds of people that I pastor and I look at the hundreds of thousands of people in our city, and I look at the images tonight, with all the mechanisms in place, all the legislation, all the resources — the White House is less than an hour from us — it wasn’t able to stop or to prevent what happened tonight. And for me, that is a clarion call that there are some things that are just beyond our power to fix. It doesn’t mean that we’re not responsible and it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try.”

Crawford continued: “But I’m here, and my hope is the hope of the Scriptures, that God is real, He really made us, He really loves this city, He really loves everybody in this city, He’s with the broken and the hurt and the young and the old. He’s pro-police officer and He’s pro-protestor. And so my hope is that God will hear us tonight and, first of all, bring peace. And then we can begin the process of reconciliation.”

This was not a planned vigil — Crawford was on his way to a meeting in Orlando before he saw the news and knew he needed to be at his church. While at the airport, he met a Baltimore police officer’s wife and promised to pray for the officer by name.

“Our role is to pray. I know that that was what God told me to do, so that’s why we’re here,” Crawford said.

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