Following through on his recommendation for communities to harness the power of prayer, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin joined residents in Louisville on Friday for a prayer walk. Facing rising murder rates in the city’s west end, Bevin spoke out at a community meeting in June about the devolving situation on the ground in Louisville.
At the time, CBS News reported Louisville Metro Police had investigated a historic 118 criminal homicides in 2016, but, as of May, the 2017 murder rate was on pace to surpass the previous record-setting year. In an effort to deal with the crisis, Bevin encouraged the people of Kentucky to embrace the “power of prayer” by organizing prayer groups that would regularly take to the streets of high-crime neighborhoods. He urged volunteers to choose a block in their communities and form teams of three to 10 people that could then walk up and down the streets several times a week for the next year.
“Go around the block, pause on each corner, pray for the people there, move to the next corner,” Bevin explained to reporters after the meeting. “And over the course of the year, here’s what’s going to happen – they’re going to get to know the people on the block.”
His plan was met with both supporters and detractors, but the conservative governor said it would be a chance for “people of faith to put their faith to work.”
“Pretty unsophisticated. Pretty uncomplicated. Pretty basic,” Bevin said. “But I truly believe we’re going to see a difference in our city. I personally believe in the power of prayer.”
On Friday, Bevin took his own advice and spent the evening “walking, talking, and paying with folks along Garland Avenue in the west end of Louisville.”
“Respectful interaction between people is a powerful antidote to much of what ails our society,” he posted. “I am encouraged every time I join a group who is engaging in our communities. I am grateful for and inspired by the many groups who are walking the neighborhoods of Louisville each week and praying for this city.”
In recent decades, neighborhoods have come to rely on the government when times get tough, be it for legislation or financial aide. And while there are certainly steps both state and local officials can take to reduce crime in cities like Louisville, there is something to be said for Bevin’s community-minded approach that seeks to get people of all backgrounds to come together and engage with one another for the common good.
“Block by block, we can reclaim our cities and our state,” he concluded. “Hope is a powerful thing!”