Prayer gathering seeks peace amid shootings

by Wes Mayer

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Members of the community praised God as Ezra Dennis, in blue, prays at First Avenue Park in Newnan. 


More than 60 members of the community gathered at Newnan’s First Avenue Park Tuesday evening for a prayer service in the wake of recent shootings.

They gathered to pray and petition God to end the violence in Newnan.

The service, hosted by pastors Dana and Jesse Roberson with Healing Waters Outreach Ministry, was organized to bring the community together and pray for the numerous victims of gun violence within the last two weeks. Local evangelists Ezra Dennis, Tonya Epps and Tanzela Reese and pastors Deborah Sheppard, Brenda Clark and Patrick James also prayed at the service as everyone in attendance walked the grounds, huddled together and praised God.

“We are asking God to heal this land tonight,” Jesse Roberson said to begin the service. “Go to God the way that you know how. This is about God being glorified.”

The service began around 7 p.m., continued until around 8:15, and as the service progressed, more and more families arrived. Each person who prayed brought their own message and style of praise to the park as they pleaded for an end to the violence.

“In spite of what we’re going through, God, we have come to praise you,” Dennis said.

“There are people out there who are hurting, Lord God,” Epps said in prayer. “We’ve had enough of the death, the violence, our young people in jail. Let no more vengeance be taken on our own behalf.”

Reese prayed for God to send his angels down and protect the city and this generation. She also prayed for Him to let families stop worrying about their children, and let wives stop worrying about their husbands.

During the service, everyone prayed for God to take the city back, put the city back in order, and for God to enter the hearts and minds of everyone hurting. They also prayed for the victims of the recent violence, their families and the families of those who did the shootings.

“I thank God that the blood is already dried up in Coweta County,” Sheppard said during her prayer.

Members also prayed for Tuesday’s service to not be the last. They prayed for the community to come together in unity and to break the segregation which occurs on Sunday – when members of different religious beliefs and faiths choose not to pray together. They also prayed to spread the word of God to the areas of Newnan that need it most.

“One can chase a thousand,” James said. “The scripture says two can put two thousand to flight.”

To end the service, five younger members of the community, all girls, performed a dance called “Young Peoples’ Cry.” The girls’ dance was choreographed to music and had everyone in attendance praising God for the younger generation growing up in the county.

“You’ve got the power because Jesus gave it to you,” Clark said. “It is up to you with what you do with the power.”



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