Praying to Protect
Prayer. We hear stories of how it can transform and impact lives. It is powerful. In today’s world where violence seems to be a daily occurrence, there are people who are using the power of prayer to support those who put their lives on the line each day to protect us – our law enforcement officers.
Adopt-A-Cop is an organization whose goal is to provide support to law enforcement officers through prayer and notes of encouragement. Families and individuals pray for a specific officer in their community and provide ongoing support to the officers.
Although the program started back in 1998, it is gaining in popularity in recent years and is now in 24 states across the nation.
It’s founder, Chaplain Sgt. Ken Rochell of Michigan State Police, shares that as a Christian police officer he knows and appreciates the power of prayer.
“I feel it has been the prayers of my family and friends that have kept me safe not only physically but emotionally,” said Sgt. Rochell in an open letter on the program’s website. “Those prayers have also given me a heart for the people I have sworn to protect and serve.”
Here in North Idaho we are not immune to the tragedies that face law enforcement. It was just over a year ago when tragedy struck in Coeur d’Alene. Coeur d’Alene police officer Sergeant Greg Moore was shot and killed in the line of duty. His death was followed by prayer vigils, notes of support and much more. And his death was not an isolated incident. The recent violence against officers around the country has impacted families, communities, fellow officers and beyond.
According to Janine Shepard of Sandpoint Church of the Nazarene, 109 law enforcement officers in Bonner County were adopted in prayer at this year’s National Day of Prayer. People took names and pledged to pray for the officer regularly. “We are changing the climate of how people feel about the law enforcement, praying for their safety and encouraging people to come alongside of our law enforcement,” said Shepard.
To show support through prayer is simple and yet powerful. Getting the community involved through Adopt-A-Cop is one way that we can support our officers, and it is an easy process.
In order to prepare to launch one’s own chapter, the Adopt-A-Cop program advises that there be a commitment from a church and law enforcement agency to go forward with the program. The group also recommends that those seeking to start a chapter reflect on certain Biblical passages which include Psalm 127:1, which reads: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” They also refer to Proverbs 14:15 – “The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.”
The next step in forming a chapter is to assemble a team of advisors to provide direction and feedback to the mission of the group. And in order to obtain the buy-in of churches and law enforcement agencies, it is vital that you share ways that the group will enhance the ministry of the church while also supporting the officers in the community.
The final step is to devise a plan to enlist prayer partners and law enforcement officers who want to participate in the program. Adopt-A-Cop also advises that churches obtain approval from their pastors and that before moving forward there is also approval from the appropriate law enforcement officials.
Our law enforcement officers are facing challenges like never before. Their pain and suffering is found in the requests for prayer that are posted on the Adopt-A-Cop website. And it is not just the officers asking for prayers but their family members as well. One post from September of 2015 reads:
“I am a wife of a kind hearted, community caring, devoted father/husband/son/brother/uncle and law enforcement officer. I send my husband out every evening with only 1 wish, and that is he returns to us in the morning. I ask for prayers for him along with all his fellow brother and sisters in blue. Please pray for us daily and all the Polk County sheriff officers. Thank you.”
Another request for prayer reads, “I am actually a retired officer...and the widow of an officer killed in the line of duty. It has been a moment-to-moment challenge to deal with all of this and others in my former department as well as my husband’s who look to me for spiritual guidance because of the stand I have taken and the faith I have shown. Honestly, as I try to help my 12-year-old son navigate this, I’m flat running out of strength and energy myself. I need reinforcements. I’m pouring out more than I am getting refilled. I keep praying for clarity of direction, but I still am not sure. Thank you!”
Yes, the struggles are many and the fear is great. And while we turn on the news to more stories of violence, let us remember that there is hope. That hope is found through the simple act of prayer.
Let us come together as a community to pray for those who protect us each and every day.
To find out more about Adopt-A-Cop, log onto adopt-a-cop.org.