Months before related shootings in three states resulted in the deaths of eight policemen and two black civilian men in July, the Houston Police Officers Union began recruiting clergy and intercessors to make Houston a city of prayer.
The result is a prayer room established at police union headquarters in downtown Houston, where continuous prayers are planned around the clock for the city beginning in August, Union Baptist Association church consultant Rickie Bradshaw told Baptist Press.
“Our prayer request is for the Son of Man to come,” Bradshaw said, referencing the Lord’s Prayer. “So we’re going to pray day and night about His kingdom coming and His will being done on the earth, and all of this was taking place way before we’ve had this plight in America. There are a group of police officers in our city that want … Houston known as a city … covered by prayer.”
The prayer initiative is the result of work that began cooperatively in April among at least four Houston prayer networks, the police officers’ union, the Union Baptist Association of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and the nationwide Prayer Boot Camp initiative of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Prayer organizers believe the only answer to police-related, racially charged violence is a revival generated by the Holy Spirit, Bradshaw said, referencing the biblical parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8.
“These officers and these intercessors are now feeling like they have no other option as that widow did, who went to the judge day and night. She had no other option but to cry out to God to come,” Bradshaw said. “How long will it be? It will be until He comes and makes Houston the praise of the earth (Isaiah 62:7).”
Isaiah 62:7, which encourages Jerusalem to pray day and night, is also motivating the initiative.
“The Lord says you who are watchmen on the wall, for the sake of Zion, take no rest for yourselves and give Him no rest until He makes Jerusalem — London, Houston, whatever — the praise of the earth,” Bradshaw said. “How do we know when Houston becomes the praise of the earth? [When] revival and spiritual awakening [come].”
A total of 24 prayer captains, including six law enforcement officers and eight pastors, signed a covenant at a July 23rd Prayer Boot Camp at union headquarters, committing to ensure that intercessors are praying in the prayer room around the clock, Bradshaw told BP.
“What’s really exciting about this is these are men and women who have a relationship with Jesus Christ, recognizing that they have a responsibility to intercede on behalf of the city before the Lord Jesus Christ,” Bradshaw said. “We made a declaration that we would keep the fire burning until He comes. This says something that is at the very heart of 24/7; you don’t start and stop.”
The July 23 Prayer Boot Camp was designed by Claude King, discipleship and church health specialist with LifeWay Adults, who developed the prayer camp in December, 2015, as a model to teach Christian disciples how to pray. King developed the camps after the 2015 release of the “War Room” movie by brothers Stephen and Alex Kendrick, and based the content on the movie-related resource “The Battle Plan for Prayer.”
“What Claude King has taught us is prayer is discipleship,” Bradshaw said. “Jesus said go out in twos, because we don’t want the fire to go out. Those men and women who have signed up to become captains, we are saying to them, we want you to sign a covenant to disciple others.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press