The church should lead the charge against crime in Port Elizabeth’s gangland murder and rape hotspot of Helenvale, said Mount Road Cluster Commander General Dawie Rabie.
Sustained prayer, fasting and prayer walks in the heart of the crime zone were the weapons that would defeat crime and poverty in the area, Gen Rabie told city church leaders at a prayer meeting at Hoogland Dutch Reformed Church.
Gen Rabie said he looked at the both the spiritual and the physical forces behind crime and he had seen the power of prayer warfare when police had called on churches to help fight a crime wave in 2009. At the start of the exercise there had been an average of three to five shootings in a 24 hours period in the troubled areas. Nine months later there were none.
He urged Christians in the city to support a prayer march in Helenvale on Saturday 5th March. The event was being organised by the Helenvale Upliftment Forum which hoped to mobilise 1 000 prayer warriors in the area on the day.
Referring to the social conditions that promoted crime in Helenvale, he said abject poverty contributed to crime and a breakdown of the social fabric in the area. It was not unusual for 30 people to live in a small, two-room house, where they had to sleep in shifts. The area was home to 10 to 20 gangs who sold drugs on the streets, especially targeting children. The gangs constantly engaged in turf wars and price wars and shooting deaths and rapes were common.
Referring to the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan he challenged the church in Port Elizabeth to embrace the poor, hurt and hate-filled people of Helenvale as its neighbour.
“The church has weapons of warfare that are not carnal but are mighty for pulling down strongholds,” he said, referring to 2 Corinthians 10:4. He also quoted Romans 5:20 which says:”Where sin abounds grace abounds more”. Therefore, he said, the church should be on the streets where sin was most rampant in order to demonstrate the power of God.
“I believe the battle is in the church’s domain. We are fighting a defeated foe but the church should lead the charge.”
“We should start now and should aim to see safe and secure suburbs, clean environs and thriving businesses in Helenvale within a year or two. Then we can tackle the next worst areas. My dream is that we take PE for the Lord Jesus and then we go further and take the whole region for Him.”