On National Day of Prayer KC pastors pray for peace across all levels of government

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dozens of concerned clergy and church members are gathering on the steps of City Hall Thursday as part of a National Day of Prayer.

Pastors here are focused on making our community safer, and encouraging new ideas and leadership for reducing the number of homicides.

Church leaders are using this ceremony to offer a corporate prayer for peace across all levels of government.

Some see the search for a new police chief as an opportunity to fundamentally change the way we fight crime, by establishing stronger bonds with young people and those whose job it is to serve and protect the public.

The religious say it all starts with faith and prayer.

"The second thing we do is to work with our young people," said Charles Briscoe, pastor emeritus of Paseo Baptist Church. To give them a sense of the value of life. Give them a self-appreciation of who they are. They are not just somebody who is just here. They have value to themselves. We want to instill that in the hearts and minds of our young people."

The mayor and police commanders also are joining pastors for two hours of prayers, which they say is a crucial tool to bring lives together.

Some say the next police chief will set the tone for community interaction in Kansas City. And they want someone who values and respect every life in a way that unites, instead of divides.

President Harry Truman established the National Day of Prayer, and over the years it has focused on many concerns, including drugs, economic crisis and problems affecting children.