Westwood Community Center received a bad rap after two shootings involving young men there: once in September and most recently in January.
Young men there say shootings are the norm for them anymore, but Pastor Ralph White and his group "God So Loved" hope to change this habit of homicide with prayer.
"These are the kinds of things that are going to change their thinking, that violence has to be accepted. We can reject it and it can happen through the power of prayer and through the power of witnessing to these young men to change their heart," says White.
His group conducted a pop-up prayer service at Westwood Community Center Saturday morning, making sure to invite a group of young men who were playing basketball there.
"It surprised me. It's something I needed, prayer," says Gregory Williams, 21, "I need prayer, someone to pray for me."
White says while some may be scared of the violence there, he says we can't wait on marching orders from the mayor; he says people need to march in now to begin the healing.
"We've got to change, not necessarily taking that gun out of their hand but taking that hate out of their heart," says White.
The young men he invited to the prayer service are welcoming this heavenly help with open arms, hoping it changes their environment.
"Shooting is going to take place, it's just a part of life, but you can't be scared of it. You got to put it in God's hands because he got you," says Dre Harris, 18, "Prayer works. As long as you got the faith to go with it, prayer works."
"God So Loved" will be conducting another prayer service on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. at Hickory Hill.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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