Whenever I watch the news of pain displayed on so many different levels such as we have been seeing in Ferguson, Missouri, I start to dig into history to find out what is fueling the situation. In addition, I begin to ask God how to pray in order for peace to be released into the situation, so His justice can prevail on all sides.
It has frequently been noted since the death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 and the subsequent protests that this response is unusual for the area, that St. Louis was one of the only large metropolitan cities that did not see violent race riots during the 1960s; however, this seeming calm in the city is not because racial injustice was not present. (1) When one studies the history of Ferguson and the greater St. Louis area, there is a long history of racial injustice deeply embedded into the everyday framework of life there. The protests and rioting are the eruption from a wound intensifying over many decades.
Interestingly, Dred Scott is buried on the same street, just four miles south of the protests. In 1857 Scott filed a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court where it was ruled that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be citizens. The court's decision was not overturned until the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. (2) Dred Scott eventually was emancipated and became a local hero, but sadly he died of tuberculosis only 18 months after he finally obtained his freedom.
This case is considered to be a significant factor in sparking the Civil War, as well as an influence on Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The role of Republican abolitionists was also key in Dred Scott's battle as they were irate over the Supreme Court's ruling, which caused them to strive even more for the emancipation and good treatment of African Americans who continued to be subject to harsh prejudices.
Unfortunately, this case was not the only historic bad ruling marring the Supreme Court's legacy; another was most certainly Roe v. Wade, which devalued human life just as the Dred Scott ruling did. We continue to pray to see that decision overturned in some manner as well.
While the law may have officially changed to say African Americans are citizens, the hard fact is that there are still areas in the United States where racism exists. For example, in spite of efforts to curb it in many municipalities, racial profiling by police still often occurs; I have been told first-hand accounts of it happening to more than one of my African-American friends. There are also cases of racial profiling by police that I know of in other American cities on a first-hand basis. You can read more on some aspects of the history and practice of this here.
As we pray surrounding this event in Ferguson and others like it, we can pray for racial profiling to be exposed wherever it is taking place. It is also important to pray for the safety and effectiveness of many police officers who are not racist and are truly committed to serving all members of their communities.
Last week, Matt Lockett of Bound4Life called a prayer meeting for this issue, and 15 leaders such as Alveda King, Will Ford and others conferenced in to storm heaven for Ferguson. The Justice House of Prayer that Matt leads joined in with their fervent pleas to the Most High.
I felt led to stand in the gap and repent for the racial profiling both past and present. The past few days have been much more peaceful in Ferguson, but ultimately, I believe the shooting of Michael Brown, along with the protests and rioting that followed, were an outcry from years of historic pain.
Whether the police officer who shot Michael Brown is innocent or guilty (and we want him to have equal justice under the law), the Holy Spirit is highlighting the need for racial healing in the nation. There is no better place to start than in praying for the people of Ferguson who need healing and hope right now. The body of Christ in the area has an opportunity to minister to hurting people, and we can join their efforts in the Spirit through our prayers. While the media may not focus on this aspect of the story, the church already has been doing a tremendous job in its efforts to bring peace and reconciliation. To read more about this from Charisma magazine, please click here.
The clarion call to pray for the nation is even clearer in light of a prophetic word recently given through Chuck Pierce:
There is a marching in the earth that is not of Me! Unless My people rise up this hour and align with Me and allow their gifts to explode, they will not be able to stop the cadence of the enemy in this generation! Understand anti-Christ. Understand what he looks like, and let your alignment come into place with Me this hour. Get moving with Me! Quit putting off the movement of my people this hour! If you don't make a shift now, you will be marched over in this nation within two years! Hear the word of the Lord!
While this is a sober warning, and it may seem impossible to bring peace in the midst of this volatile situation, I believe the words given through the prophet Amos—and one of the most favorite passages often quoted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—speak to the cause we must continue to fight for, in our prayers and in our actions:
"But let justice run down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream" (Amos 5:24).
1. Pray for God to expose any areas where police profiling of minorities is occurring in our nation (Eph. 5:13).
2. Pray for the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, to receive healing and hope, not only from the shooting of Michael Brown, but also from the racial wound that has been present there for so long (Psalm 147:3).
3. Pray for the safety and protection of officers around the nation who are not racist and are committed to truly upholding their duties as officers for all people (Psalm 91).