The Hebrew Scriptures in the book of Ecclesiastes teaches us there is a time for all things under the sun. If that is true, and I believe it is, then this is certainly a time for prayer. There is so much happening around us that if ever there was a time to pray, that time is now.

I am a firm believer in the power of prayer. Even though it has far too often been referred to glibly to assuage the pain felt by families in the midst of tragic situations — “Our thoughts and prayers are with you” — there is power in prayer.

The brutal gun violence and massive killings happening all over our nation is evidence we need to pray. The violence in our urban cities is screaming at us to pray. The ever-increasing number of homicide-suicide incidents occurring in rural and suburban communities, although underreported in mainline news, is still more evidence we need to pray. The empty seats in so many of our mainline churches is indicative of our need for prayer. The vast numbers of shootings in public places that continue to rise each year tell us there is a need to pray.

If we are not bothered by what is happening around the nation, the fact is that death, violence and the brutality that used to be out there has come near. It is no longer what’s going on out there that is disheartening; it has found its way to Delmarva. From the riot that left an officer dead in Smyrna, Del., to the police-involved killing of an unarmed young man in Greensboro, to yet another homicide in Federalsburg last week. Remember when homicides occurred at least 10 years apart in Denton, Federalsburg or Greensboro.

And then there’s the more than 800,000 federal employees still furloughed in the longest shutdown in American history.

Caroline County, we need to pray.

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