Chicago pastor on combating city violence: 'Prayer is our weapon of warfare'

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Chicago is off to a horribly bloody start in 2016.

But now, there are two unique approaches to bringing peace to the city. One calls on more manpower, while the other calls on a higher power as thousands gather to pray for peace in every corner of Chicago.

“If there's anything Chicago needs and desires, it’s prayer,” said Reverend James Meeks.

In the House of Hope, they gathered to pray for restored hope for a city that has become synonymous with violence.

“We believe that it is through prayer that hearts will be transformed, the work will start from the inside and be found on the outside, it will be noticed on the outside,” said Pastor Shando Valdez of New Jerusalem Baptist Church.

Pastor Valdez lost one of his church youth workers to violence two years ago. Leo Matias was killed in a drive-by shooting on a job site.

“Father give us a deep capacity to cry out to you for the city of Chicago all 77 neighborhoods,” the group prayed.

On Wednesday, Pray Chicago event brought together people of all colors and faiths, young and old, united in one heart for one city.

Reverend James Meeks says with all the violence, Chicago is in need of some divine intervention.

“I think that some of the violence in Chicago and some of the problems we are facing has to do with the fact that people have actually turned their back on God,” Rev. Meeks said.

The murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee touched the hearts of many, including the pastor who prayed over the young boy in the alley shortly after he was shot.

“We are protesting against somebody different, we are protesting against a different level. And so prayer is our weapon of warfare,” said Pastor Donovan Price of Pray Chicago Youth Edition.

Dr. Erwin Lutzer is the Senior Pastor of Moody Church.

“We believe that if we turn to God and others join us, that the city of Chicago can actually have some hope which it desperately needs,” Pastor Lutzer said.

This is the seventh year that pastors have hosted the Pray Chicago event, and they are hoping that change can come through changed hearts in  homes, neighborhoods and have a ripple effect across the city.

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