One Simple Way to Keep Our Neighborhoods Safe -- Reflections on the New York and Sutherland Attacks

I awakened with New York City weighing heavily on my spirit. It’s heartbreaking to think that innocent people, out for a walk, a run, or a bike ride on a crisp autumn day, had died because an evil man had mowed them down with a truck.

Later, the news of a church shooting in Texas added to the horror.

I walk almost every day, and although I don’t live in a metropolitan area or a tiny town, evil isn’t limited by geography or socio-economic status. A rash of recent car break ins have troubled my neighborhood. Many have installed special lighting, and one neighbor organized a Crime Watch meeting at a nearby church. 

Car break ins are a nuisance compared to the carnage New York City experienced recently, but both are proof that we need greater security. How can we protect ourselves? 

When fearful thoughts trouble my spirit, I’m learning to take them to God, so that’s what I did. As I walked the streets of my neighborhood early one morning, I prayed, and God spoke. He brought to mind a Bible verse I’d studied this week. 

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. 

In Psalm 122:6, God calls his people to pray for the peace of their holy city. While no one’s ever called Lexington, South Carolina, a holy city, the principle still applies. Praying regularly for our city’s peace, and, on a smaller scale, the neighborhoods in which we live, is biblical. God uses our prayers to spread his protective covering over our homes and our streets. 

So this morning, as I walked the five streets and seven cul de sacs of my neighborhood, I prayed. I asked God to keep our neighborhood safe from anyone who would do us harm. I prayed a blessing over each family, inviting God to make himself very real to them and to meet their every need. I petitioned him to strengthen the faith of the believers who live here and embolden them to share their faith with others. And I asked him to bless us, using us to minister in his name.  

Today, as you drive or walk through your neighborhood, instead of listening to music or mindlessly daydreaming, why not spend a few minutes praying? It could make all the difference.

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