Police Work, Prayer and Chaos
Prayer is the theme in concluding this article on uncertainty and chaos in the law enforcement profession. As I indicated previously, I’ve been intrigued bythe comments in our social networking and online writing communities that refer to prayer by asking us to do so on behalf of deceased officers, families, and friends as well as those who live in noble suffering in a call to God that is supported by scripture, but, more importantly, by action. In my
last article, I had provided some personal experiences and examples that spurred my own questions and stirrings about God and prayer and asked you, our audience, to do the same. After some contemplation, what did you come up with?
I will preface this again by saying that I am a work in progress. I’m a praying, religious man who attends church, and found Jesus Christ through my own law enforcement experience. In addition to formal education in philosophy, morality, ethics, and theology, I further consulted with a number of spiritual leaders and police chaplains across the U.S. in developing some tangible things you can take away from this piece to understand the importance of prayer and how we can all participate.
Most of us were introduced to the concept of a greater being when we were children. Many of us claim to believe and follow the way of God/Yahweh through Jesus Christ. We attend church or synagogue, we try to live good lives, and we are aware of the frailties in the world among those we serve, but have we learned how to relate to the God who created us and watches over us lovingly and always? In our experience and research, building a relationship with God is best done in prayer so we must ask ourselves, “How do I pray?” “What do I pray for?” “Who do I pray for?” Chaplains indicate that officers often wish for them to pray for them and they respond that they will, especially during times of hurting and vulnerability.
We are born to be good people. When some of us get too caught up in the everyday temptations of life, we struggle to get back on track. Prayer brings solace in a world of chaos and offers a quiet time for us to leave the stress of our lives, and it provides time to build a relationship with the Master of the Universe. We become more comfortable in the presence of mystery. We need to pray in whatever way we know, and believe that our prayers of praise, thanksgiving, and request will be answered for us and for the recipients of our prayer.
There is always some form of prayer or praying common to all faiths or religious backgrounds. It is a known entity that prayers in some form are readily offered whenever there are officer injuries or deaths. The most common comment from people is: “I am praying for you or remembering you in prayer.” When officers call for prayer, a concept of God’s benevolence is present and they trust that those prayers are reaching the God of their beliefs.
Forget science when determining your answers. As a social scientist I can guarantee you that while we seek verification of a phenomenon through rigorous criteria, we cannot explain matters of self, personal experience, transcendence, and intuition with science. It’s metaphysical, spiritual and religious. Philosopher Immanuel Kant once said that science is the organization of knowledge while wisdom is the organization of life. So let’s finish with some words of wisdom by those who have led us in our spiritual calling:
• Praying to God is the foundation for our emotional well-being. It’s not so much an intimate attachment as it is a determined stance toward the world. It implies dependence, vulnerability, risk, and a lack of control. This is where the rubber meets the road for us in law enforcement. We can’t control everything. As a result, we pray—for ourselves and for others. While we cannot fix the world, we trust in God and with it a responsibility to engage and accept life’s possibilities;