LIMA — New Hope Missionary Baptist Church held a youth prayer rally Saturday, one that had unusual origins.
For Prophet Cedric Wright, bringing a prayer rally to Lima was not a reaction to the news about increasing gun violence among the city’s youth, but rather a response to a divine directive calling him to come to town. In fact, Wright came in with no expectations whatsoever.
“I don’t know anything about Lima,” the Detroit native said.
After sensing the call to come to town, Wright looked through his friends on Facebook to see who lived in Lima, finally finding Clarence Zanders.
“I was talking with Clarence and said I believe we need to do one in Lima, and he said, ‘How can I help?’” Wright said.
Hearing from Wright gave Zanders the push to help organize an event that was already close to his heart.
“It’s a God deal,” he said. “He called me up and said that we need to have a prayer rally in Lima, and it’s been something that’s been on my heart but I kept putting it off. So when it called, it really confirmed that.”
While inclement weather hindered a larger number of people from attending, that did not stop Wright from trying to get the message out that there is a better way for Lima’s young people.
“Mainly, prayer shows another way,” he said. “A lot of times, young people feel hopeless, and this can stir up hope in them. It can let them know that you may not always be able to point to someone who cares about you, but I believe that God does. He cares about us enough to where we won’t have to kill each other and we can learn to manage our tempers. This gives them another answer.”
For Zanders, the need for this kind of event has never been greater given the increasing amount of deadly violence among Lima’s young people.
“We have to have this,” he said. “They don’t realize they need it, but they do.”
Prophet Martez Thompson, of Detroit, traveled down with Wright. He, too, is looking for an end to violence among youth.
“I’ve had to do too many funerals for young people,” he said.