Saturday, May 8, 2010
Prayers for Those Affected by Drug Abuse
11:00 A.M. Thursday approached and the fair weather and warm wind seemed to be good signs that the event at Tracy Park to commemorate the National Day of Prayer by our Facebook group, "Fix the Scioto County Problem of Drug Abuse," would be successful. Groups of people began to arrive at this rather inconvenient time to pray, hear testimonies, and walk to a nearby "pain clinic." I say "inconvenient" because so many who would have liked to be there had to work and to attend school.
The Facebook group, now numbering over 3,000 members, came to lift prayers for the following people:
a. the millions who suffer from addiction,
b. the families that suffer with addicts,
c. the safety of law enforcement officers and emergency personnel,
d. the need for community resources to fight wrong and build right,
e. the families who have grieved the drug-related loss of a loved one,
f. the restoration of the community,
g. the wisdom of legislators to correct laws that allow prescription madness, and
h. the hearts of the greedy people who put drug profits before their concern for life.
The crowd numbered around 150 people, a good beginning for our first public outing with the group. I made some general remarks about the mission and the activism of the Facebook group. I challenged each person to find a personal talent to contribute to our group while using patience and persistence to fighting our foe, drug addiction. Then, Dr. Adams informed the public of the scope of the state of emergency concerning prescription drug abuse in Scioto County. All soon realized that we had entered a war that must be fought along many battle lines and with all the resources we could muster.
As prayers began, each was followed by testimony from a person or from a family that had lost someone to the evils of drug abuse. Many pained faces and tears began to surface as people related their touching tragedies. Those courageous individuals freely offered their narratives to stress the urgency of change and the personal costs of addiction. One young recovering addict stepped forward from the crowd to tell of her present successful struggle to maintain a clean life.
The crowd listened intently and prayed with vigor with each progression of the program. But, then the time came to walk to the open "pain clinic" and pray for those in charge to stop putting greed before concern for life. I was very nervous about how some of the Christians would react to this challenge of activism. Still, the prayer warriors did walk in mass to the nearby Findley Street location. My heart quickened as we stood on the sidewalk and spilled around the curb at the site.
With utmost respect, the crowd prayed with Pastor Larry Parks to stop the senseless business of irresponsible distribution of deadly drugs. Essentially, the crowd begged the doctor and his clinic to stop their operations for the good of humanity and for the preservation of human lives. I was overcome by the humble solidarity of the group as the message echoed amid interested spectators on the street and those behind the cold, white, closed facing of the clinic.
As soon as the pastor finished his prayer, a young lady began the first strains of "Amazing Grace" and everyone sang with heartfelt conviction. Suddenly, a tremendous brass sound joined in the song. A young man was sounding a shofar, a ritual ram's horn instrument of ancient and modern Hebrews, that had been blown to destroy the Walls of Jericho. The shofar was essentially sounding a warning to "wake up from an immoral sleep and remember God is in charge." I later learned the young man sounding the shofar had fearlessly joined our crowd.
In the middle of "Amazing Grace," a woman employee of the clinic opened the front door and angrily told the Facebook group to "get off the sidewalk and quit blocking the entrance to the pill mill." As quickly as she finished her demanding comments, a minister quickly reminded her that "the sidewalk belongs to the public" while others added "we're praying for your deliverance on the very streets and walks you soil every day with your bad business." She shamefully shut the door and the group finished singing several verses of "Amazing Grace." Then, everyone respectfully left for the return walk to Tracy Park and the rest of the scheduled program.
As we finished our final prayers and testimonies at Tracy, we all knew our group had changed from a talking, communications group into a tool of direct activism. The bond we felt now went far beyond our Facebook profiles as many met new friends in person. In fact, a few of the "pill mill" spies had been sighted at the park, and I don't think they intended to report "friendly" activities to their enterprises. I left the park sometime later very proud of all of those in attendance and ecstatic about our contribution to the National Day of Prayer. I knew we had established a few vital steps towards improving a more Godly community:
1. We had uplifted our concerns to God.
2. We had heard genuine, fruitful testimony.
3. We had taken a peaceful, lawful stand for right.
4. We had stood fearlessly together to help effect the common good. AND
5. I CAN'T HELP BUT BELIEVE WE HAD SAVED AT LEAST ONE HUMAN BEING.
I, personally, want to thank the following people for their stirring testimonies: Peggy Gemperline, Wendy Bentley, Crystal Chamberlin, Lisa Duncan, Barbara Howard and all the others who volunteered their powerful narratives on the spot.
Also, I, personally, want to thank the following clergy for their uplifting prayers: Pastor Clarence Parker of Pleasant Green Baptist, Pastor Kym James of Cornerstone United Methodist, Joe Bruch of Calvary Chapel, Reverend Tom Spradlin of Family Ministries and Sciotodale Freewill Baptist, Reverend John Gowdy of Temple Baptist, Pastor Patti Cunningham of Kingdom Builders Evangelistic, Pastor Tim Throckmorton of Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene, and Pastor Larry Parks of "Celebrate Recovery" and Cook Road Baptist.
In closing, may I offer you my gratitude for joining our Facebook group and attending our first event. The group is still growing every day and people continue to contribute vital news and comments about our struggle. So many need resources that I often call upon you to help save a life. Just one of your comments or one of your talents can help a life at risk. Keep up the great work! I thank you all very much. Frank.