Praying for an End to Addiction

Praying for an End to Addiction

HUNTINGTON -- Mayor Steve WilliamsDrug addiction is a scourge that affects every state and countless municipalities across America. A prime example is the governor of one of our least-populated states devoting this year’s state of the state speech to the “full-blown heroin crisis” gripping Vermont.

I grew up in a city of about 55,000 in northern Ohio. Yet last year on a visit to a longtime friend who lives in a small town nearby, he mentioned the numerous heroin overdose deaths in his county that year.

The same problem plagues Huntington, West Virginia, where I now live. Ironically, the crackdown on the Appalachian region’s numerous “pill mills” has made heroin a cheaper alternative to oft-abused pain medications.

Appeal for Help

The recently beefed-up police force is doing all it can, executing dozens of warrants on alleged drug dealers. At the start of one roundup, they had Ohio’s Highway Patrol waiting at connecting bridges for fleeing suspects.

What may be different about the situation here is the mayor’s acknowledgement that the city needs more help. It doesn’t have enough police officers to arrest all the drug dealers; even if they did, they would leave behind a mass of addicts, he said recently.

So Mayor Steve Williams is appealing to a higher power, asking churches across the city to come together in prayer at 11:05 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 7, to seek God’s help in breaking the power of drug addiction here.

I heard about the meeting Williams held with area pastors from the pastor of our church, who attended the session.

A Fabric of Faith

Thanks to news coverage and a video the mayor recorded—reluctantly, our pastor said, since he didn’t want to appear to be making a political appeal—news of the effort has spread quickly.

“Anybody who’s from here knows that a part of the fabric of our community is our faith,” the mayor told one TV station.

It will be interesting to see what develops, especially since efforts to combat this problem thus far are still swimming upstream.

A National Trait

Benjamin FranklinWhile Huntington has long been known as a place with a church on every corner, I would add that faith is also a strong part of the fabric of the United States. Despite atheists and free thinkers who argue otherwise, prayer and appeals to God are integral elements of this nation’s history.

In searching for mentions of prayer in our past, I quickly came across a couple examples. One is the proclamation calling for a national day of prayer and fasting, signed by President Abraham Lincoln on Mar. 30, 1863, in the middle of the Civil War.

Another is the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when the founding fathers were hopelessly deadlocked. The situation prompted Benjamin Franklin to remind delegates how prayer had sustained the colonies at the beginning of their war with Great Britain to establish independence.

“Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered…” Franklin said. “And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men.

Franklin’s words are worth remembering during the 21st century, when we fight a foe that can’t be defeated by human weapons alone.


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