Yesterday, I attended a prayer rally in support of legislation that will regulate the 10 “massage parlors” in the city of Warren, Ohio. It was an inspiring event, attended by a wide range of people from all over Trumbull county, representing many denominations (and many non-denominational churches, too). My thanks go out to Councilwoman Cheryl Saffold for bringing the event together.
As I stood in that parking lot yesterday, listening to speaker after speaker, with the cold wind whipping through downtown Warren like a cold knife, I was amazed by the feeling of God’s presence among the people gathered there. Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, Pentecostals, and a whole range of views in-between were gathered together for one purpose–to pray to God for the legislation that will be passed this Wednesday. There were no efforts to “convert” one another. We didn’t have a discussion on how we are different–though we also didn’t discuss how we’re the same, either. We just focused our hearts and minds on God, and prayed in Jesus’ name for one another, for the city of Warren, and for those who are exploited by the commercial sex industry.
Prayer matters not so much because it brings about some magical turn of events, or because it is an incantation against evil, but because it draws us closer together and closer to God. I believe in prayer because I know that I am changed whenever I pray, and I believe in the power of God’s presence among God’s people. Prayer brings that power to the forefront. Prayer matters because it can be a powerful sword of nonviolence in a world of violence, desecration of human life, and apathy on the part of a large number of the populace. Prayer makes it possible for us to have the courage to march against what we know to be wrong, and to stand up for what we believe is right.
So yesterday’s rally was a great moment, for our movement against the massage parlors and against human trafficking, but also for me personally. It reminded me that a few committed individuals, working together for a common purpose, can indeed change the world.
If you read this, please keep the city council of Warren in your prayers on Wednesday, as they vote to regulate the “massage parlors.” And know that my prayers will be joined with yours.