Nowhere was National Day of Prayer observed more fervently than in Frayser.
A dozen men and women gathered on the blue pews inside the big sanctuary of Union Grove Baptist Church at noon Thursday. For the next hour, they prayed without ceasing — some without sitting.
“We pray for our country, our community, but especially for Frayser, oh Lord,” Tiffany Swift prayed as she paced along the altar rail. “Frayser is a challenging place to live.”
No one is more aware of those challenges than the 40,000 or so people who live in Frayser.
In the past 10 years, Frayser’s unemployment rate has more than doubled to about 17 percent. Nearly six in 10 children live below poverty level. Housing and property values continue to drop.
Frayser has become synonymous with foreclosure, teen pregnancy, infant mortality and crime.
“We cry out loud, Lord,” Teresa Ward prayed as she sat in a pew. “We forgive those who have hurt us and our community in the past, and we also forgive ourselves. We rebuke fear. We denounce a victim mentality and will no longer accept the role of the victim.”
Nor will they accept the premise that Frayser doesn’t have a prayer.
“Frayser belongs to God,” J. Yvonne Mitchell prayed as she walked up and down the church aisles. “We agree that the power of God, along with diligent work, is necessary to transform the Frayser community from where it is today to where God has purposed it to be.
“We will see the hand of God move to help us to transform Frayser into a better place to live, work and worship.”