(  Photo   by   Vladimir Badikov   is licensed under   CC BY-NC-SA  )

(Photo by Vladimir Badikov is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA)

Ephesians 6:18 tells us that we are to pray on all occasions. James 5:16 tells us that, as believers made righteous through Christ, our prayers are powerful and effective. We are often quick to voice opinions and interpretations of the painful, complex situations going on in our world and our communities, but do we consistently approach the throne of God in the same manner? These past few days have been some of Baltimore’s darkest. Here are five ways to lift up our City to the one who gave His own life to reconcile man’s relationship with God and with one another.

1. Pray for the family ofFreddie Gray. God’s Word commands us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). A young man tragically lost his life on April 19, 2015. In the midst of the chaos this past week, we do not forget him or his grieving family.

2. Pray for theBaltimore Police Department. Baltimore police officers consistently put themselves in harm’s way to protect the citizens of our city. In the past week, as many as 100 police officers were injured, one of whom is in critical condition. Pray for the dissolution of layers and years of distrust between the Police Department and various neighborhoods in the city. We know this distrust and anger has fueled the events of the past few days.

3. Pray for the leaders of Baltimore. 1 Timothy2:1-2 tells us we are to lift up in prayer those who have been given governing authority. Pray for Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, Baltimore City Council President Jack Young and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Pray for wisdom, the ability to direct an effective response and wade through the aftermath.

4. Pray for the physical restoration of our city’s infrastructure. In the midst of riots earlier this week, businesses were looted and 144 cars and 15 buildings were burned to the ground. Pray for those who were impacted by these acts of violence against our city, including business owners and employees.

5. Pray that any subsequent protests would remain peaceful. The initial conclusions of the investigation surrounding Freddie Gray’s death are due on Friday. Whether or not they will be made public is unclear, but this escalates the potential for a weekend of unrest. Several groups have already scheduled protest rallies for this weekend. Pray that these protests would remain peaceful.

PRAY WITH US. We will be meeting to pray for our city this Friday morning from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. at the North Baltimore Mennonite Church (4615 Roland Ave, Baltimore, Maryland 21210). Come for as much or as little of that time as you can to join us in a time of guided prayer and quiet reflection for the sake of Baltimore City.