8.17.2019

Faith in Ferguson 5 Years On

It is now 5 years since the events that erupted out of Ferguson, MO. It's been a while since I've written about my history there and the many things the Lord has taught me around this event, which you can find in my reconciliation and development thread. And he definitely continues to do so.

This year on August 9 and 10 I unexpectedly found myself back in that familiar part of town. I've been praying and working with 10 Days of Prayer St. Louis, and through them learned just days before of a morning prayer meeting I felt compelled to attend. Led by the organization Civil Righteousness, we had a time of reflection and then a longer time of prayer, crying out to the Lord on behalf of the city of Ferguson and the entire region for the peace and unity only Jesus can give.

Ministry Leaders Prayer Gathering
While some of that deep sadness came rushing back on many of us, it remains important to really feel, to care deeply and to bring that sorrow to the Lord, knowing only He can cause the changes we want to see. I am also thankful for the positives and connections that continue to happen as a result, and for ways we do see the Lord working even now.

At this morning of prayer I also learned of several other weekend events, and was able to return later on Friday for a tent meeting on Canfield near West Florissant called "Fragrance Ferguson." This was a time of worship and prayer, again for the city, but also for physical healing for any who requested it, which really paralleled at an individual level exactly what we were praying for the region.

Jonathan Tremaine Thomas speaks inside the tent

Police did request we end a bit early due to "intel" they received, but we were thankful to later hear there were only a few protestors over at the police station, and just a handful arrested for blocking traffic. Overall a very peaceful evening.

On Saturday I returned to the tent. The sounds of worship music and prayer filled the air of that street corner throughout the day. In stark contrast, I was able to participate in The Wall, a mostly silent time of prayer in which each of us wrote a one or two word prayer on a piece of white tape and covered our mouths. Instead of a silent protest, we walked up Canfield to the apartments and stood lined up on either side of the street around the memorial for Mike Brown to silently pray. Occasionally, Civil Righteousness leader Jonathan Tremaine Thomas read Scripture or prayed aloud, but most of our hour there was without commentary. No shouts. No opinions. Just prayer. There was a great show of appreciation in honks and thank yous as vehicles passed by.

A simple prayer.
Walking to the apartments.







Afterward, we gathered to pray aloud together in a large group on the side of the road. Here we met several residents and individuals significant to the events of 5 years ago. It was a privilege to hear their stories and pray for them now.

 

Once The Wall prayer time was done, we returned to the tent. Several of us, which included a number from Alabama and Tennessee, then dispersed either to walk the streets or sit at smaller tents to speak and pray with people passing by. I was able to spend about 4 hours at a tent on W. Florissant, where we passed out water, plus offered some food packets donated by another group across the street, and had the privilege to pray with several individuals. We could also point them later in the afternoon to the tent area for sno-cones and face painting, while inviting them back to an evening prayer time. Again, so many people, even those who did not request prayer, said, "Thank you for doing this."

The canopy out on West Florissant.
Worship continued throughout the day.
I was unable to stay for the evening, but I've since heard some great testimonies coming out of that prayer and healing service on Saturday night as well.
 
Our positive presence in the community may have been felt on the surface, but this was also a way to let a community forever changed and still hurting know that God's people have not forgotten them. God has not forgotten this city, and in fact His presence was most certainly there. I'm so grateful He led me to join this group to bring people before the Lord. It also struck me that while many who caused trouble during the initial riots were not from this area, many in this group trying to bring healing came from different parts of the country as well, indicating a broader restorative theme.

As always, please continue to pray for the Lord's work and healing in and around Ferguson, also remembering Dellwood, and the entire St. Louis area. Pray for the Gospel of Jesus to change this place from the inside out, and give thanks for all God is doing here that you simply won't hear on the news. He really is working.

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