Changing lives through prayer…Closing gap between young adults and Christianity

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In a time in which Blacks are being murdered at a rate that is seven times that of Whites  and unemployment for Blacks is double the rate of their White counterparts, there is hope for the people of the “mosaic generation” to continue the tradition and practice the faith of Christianity through the art of prayer. The hope for the cause is to serve as a model to fight the “mosaic” theory and bring more of that generation to Christ.

“Our focus has been to target people within the age group of 18-35 and those who have been estranged from the church at some point,” said Lisa Thorpe-Vaughn, founder and facilitator of City Wide 5 a.m. Prayer that has been held at Northside Institutional Church of God in Christ since 2001.

“It takes place at a time in which we can grab the after-hours crowd to come in and be re-connected,” said Thorpe-Vaughn. “I came up with the idea (of the early time and day of the week) so that the idea to attend is strictly intentional. A non-traditional atmosphere of worship has been created with low lights and casual attire so that the focus is not on what people are wearing. This is all done to test the flesh and enhance the spirit through sacrifice.”

On a rainy morning at the finale of the summer-long P.U.S.H. program of citywide prayer, approximately 60 people filled the sanctuary and immediately proceeded to worship. Individually from every pew, with Thorpe-Vaughn leading, people reverenced the Lord through prayer, praise, and song. The praise team sang hymns of adulation of the Lord. Organ, drums, piano, and bass playing loudly and the the speaker and congregation were filled with enthusiasm.

“This was a tremendous experience,” said Tracey Johnson, 22, of Garfield. “I did not think that this would be so powerful and I am hoping that there are more initiatives to demonstrate the power of prayer.”

One may ask is an eye being kept on the progress of African-American culture  and how does it affect their overall quality of life and human behavior? Some of the answers lies in the research of the Barna Group, a California- based institution that is self-proclaimed as the leading Christian research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture.

They’ve displayed a compilation of explored topics of religious beliefs and its indicators among the top four ethnic groups in this nation, is that Blacks had the highest scores on 10 of the 12 belief indicators. Also, there were nine specific religious statements in which Blacks responded in the highest number in eight of those nine.

Contrary to those facts, Barna has made comments to the Baptist Press—a daily Christian news service headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., about what he calls the “mosaic generation.” This is a term that defines believers who were born between 1984 and 2002. According to him, these people are “very mosaic in every aspect of life that is comfortable with contradiction.”

After the service, some had  a reserved appearance, others looked as though they had just returned from a club. One man even had the smell of vodka on his breath.

“I think if people focused on attending places like this it would cut down on some other options that people have at this time of the day,” said Isaac Williams, 34, of the West End. “When my friend told me he wanted to come here instead of where we were heading to before, I was surprised and a little skeptical. That all changed once we got here.”

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