City Turns to God in Face of Crime

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The big attraction Friday night at the Birmingham, Ala., Boutwell Auditorium is not the usual fair for a venue known for hosting concerts and special events.

It's a prayer rally for the city, called for by Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford and organized with the help of area pastors and other city leaders.

The Magic City has already had 27 murders in 2008, compared to 19 this time last year. Mayor Larry Langford wants to see his city turn to God for help.

At a recent city council meeting, Langford introduced the idea of praying in "sack cloth and ashes."  Click here to watch the story.

"When cities in the early part of this nation's history and the world's history... when they had gotten so far from God, begun idol worship and all kinds of crazy stuff that we are even doing today... that community came to its senses," Langford said.

"The Bible tells us that they put on sack cloth and ashes on their face and they prayed and God heard their prayer," he added.

He purchased 2,000 sack-cloths without using city funds and will hand them out at the event.

Several area ministers, as well as some nationally known ones, are joining together to lead the prayer rally. Two members of the Georgia legislature are planning to attend, in a show of support for the mayor's call to prayer.

Langford is working what he calls "Plan 10/30," which is based on the fact that most of the city's crimes are committed by African-Americans ages 10 to 30 against that same age group.

He has also held a series of summits as part of the project - the first one for men, another for women, and the last with families. After reporting to city leaders on the summit, Langford said there was only one thing left to do.

"To get this community back on the right track, we need to understand the power of prayer."

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Donna Russell

Donna Russell

CBNNews.com

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