I hope St. Louis does not become the parable of The Rich Man found in Luke.
My previous prayer walk was on the Katy Trail. I saw nature and enjoyed the quiet. I had no idea what to really pray for. Before my prayer walk today I was provided a little guidance from the minister, “ Just Listen, the Lord will tell you what to pray.” As I walked the neighborhood my thoughts were God these people feel abandoned. They were a lot of vacant houses. I saw a stray dog and a stray cat, more evidence of abandonment. I noticed trash littering the sidewalk and lawns for blocks. The minister pointed out the lack of trash cans. Operation bright side needs to schedule a neighborhood clean up in the neighborhood around Page Avenue and Belt Avenue. St. Louis is a juxtaposition. Within a few blocks where institutions that represent community empower, the YMCA, Better Family Life, and Annie Malone. The trash was soda bottles and junk food wrappers.
Prior to the prayer walk, I have noticed that in the urban areas soda is cheaper than bottled water. All the empty soda bottles were proof. All the fast food places served fried food. I prayed about the lack of healthy food. I prayed for the owners of the business who refused to leave but continued to serve the community. I saw that some people were good stewards, despite the environment. They had not given in to the spirit of hopelessness. Block by block it was different some sections still looked alive and vibrant, others looked deserted. At times, the weeds and overgrowth from lack of maintenance were so bad you couldn’t even walk on the sidewalk. All the corners were ADA compliant, but you barely navigate the sidewalk. The grass made me think about the scripture. It continues to grow and be beautiful despite the crumbling houses. There was enough vacant home, that we should not have homeless or a shortage of transitional facilities for those reentering society. Some business was closed due to technology, making the need for them obsolete.
As I walked I God brought to my remembrance “ The Message” by Grand Master Flash. The first line that popped into my head was, Broken glass everywhere… It’s like a jungle sometimes literally with overgrowth of bushes, trees and weeds). It makes me wonder how I can from goin’ under (hopelessness). I prayed God strengthen the residents of the neighborhood. Seeing the churches and convince stores selling liquor and tobacco products made me think about a line from the movie Posse In the movie Posse on of the character said, “I am always led by the spirit. Which Spirit depends…” Throughout the community, I saw the Better Family Life signs from “We Must Stop Killing Each Other ” eventually I saw a sign on the ground. I believe it was on the ground as a sign of disrespect because right next to it was a yard sign about a loan company. St. Louis is in need of peace from domestic violence as well domestic terrorist. The section where an overgrowth of bushes, weeds had become unmanageable from neglect was only like 50 feet awhile from a modern apartment complex and a sign that said Caution children. We are disrespecting our children but not maintaining a safe environment for them. I thought children were the reason we must pray for our city. Children are future. They don’t deserve poverty. They didn’t ask to come here. It was our choice and it’s our responsibility to take care of the neighborhood, our community, and our world until they can. As the prayer walk came to a close, I noticed the same men. I prayed they would have somewhere to go. I wondered where they are hanging out because of a lack of opportunity. Looking at the community you would assume there was a lack of opportunity. Maybe God is allowing a situation where he can show up and show out. Like the man who was unable to get to the pool and be healed. Near the end of the prayer walk I realized God was still in the neighborhood, just like he is still with me. I learned there is beauty in the midst of suffering. I encourage everyone to participate in an urban pray walk and listen for God to speak to you.