"Prayer On The 9" For A City On The Line

"Prayer On The 9" For A City On The Line

Chicago is in need of prayer...and New Life Covenant is lending a hand.

Chicago, Illinois is one of the largest and most popular places to be in the Unites States. Being coined as the "Windy City," it is home to a population of 3 million people. It is also home to some of the best attractions, including museums, sports arenas, acclaimed performing arts theaters and pizzerias which draw tourist into the city. Chicago is also well known for its urban culture, which has inspired dances, songs and other forms of entertainment which have given the city a name that is constantly brought up around the country. While the Windy City has a reputation bigger than the city itself, Chicagoans are facing a problem which threatens to tear down everything that the city has built.

Gun violence has taken a huge toll in the city of Chicago. The majority of news reported in the city is largely focused on shootings or violent crimes which continue to plague Chicago as a whole. In 2015, Chicago had a total number of 489 classified murders. While this number is huge, it pales in comparison to the number of victims involved in a shooting in general. In 2015, 2,939 people were victims of a shooting in the city. In 2016, as of the month of June, Chicago already has 253 classified murders, which is over 50 percent of the total murders that occurred in the past year. While these numbers are growing at a rapid rate, Chicagoans have started to rally together in efforts to bring peace to their communities and put an end to gun violence.

New Life Covenant Southeast, headed by Pastor John F. Hannah, is an active South Side ministry of over 20,000 congregational members. It is one of the fastest growing and largest ministries in the Chicago area. Their ministry has been in existence for 12 years. Their service in the city has included food pantry, community outreach, back-to-school fairs, the adoption of two city schools, and the building of Grand Crossing Kid Care, a facility which will house up to 300 infants and toddlers. For the past six years, New Life has hosted an event called "Prayer On The 9," which is an annual prayer meeting on East 79th Street. The focus of these prayer meetings is to pray on the streets of Chicago, in efforts to stand against violence and crime within the city. In 2016, as the murder rate and violence in Chicago continued to escalate, New Life prepared a different plan for Prayer On The 9.

On May 21, 2016, New Life once again hosted its annual prayer meeting from 11 a.m. to noon. They spent the beginning of the hour praying on the streets, and praying for those that drove by in need of prayer. At the end of the hour, they decided to create a visual representation of what was happening in the city of Chicago. In an interview with Power 92.3, Pastor Hannah stated, "This is a visual generation...If they could just see what's really going on, it might make them think like, man, this is crazy." The members dressed in a red clothing item, symbolizing the blood that has been shed in their city due to violence. They also decided to bring a picture of a loved one that they lost due to gun violence and crime in the city. With the red clothing and the picture of their lost loved one, they stepped out into the streets and laid on the ground. This was done to represent all of the bodies scattered across their city. With so many people in red laying on the ground, New Life gained the attention of ABC7 Chicago and WGN Chicago, covering the event in their news' stories. There were also photographers at the event capturing the moment that New Life laid on the ground with their loved ones' picture.

Prayer On The 9 is not only a prayer meeting, but it's also a symbol of hope for the city. As the years have gone by, New Life has gained the respect of many Chicagoans, and their support as they help to restore the city. The city is slowly starting to realize that the work that must be done to restore peace is dependent on all of the people within it. People must put their differences aside, and decide that changing a life is better than taking it.

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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How Incorporating Organization In My Daily Routine Single-Handedly Changed My Life

And how it can structure yours.


It would be a complete fabrication of the truth if I pretended that my life in any way has been picture perfect. Things are messy, life is messy, and my life becomes an endless cycle of self provoked destruction.

I've had short bursts of motivation as a last expedient to seize control of the downward spiral I have endured. But mostly they have diminished along with any motivation I have left.

None of these short term solutions have yet to salvage my mental, physical, and academic state. SO, as an attempt to overhaul my life, I decided the best way to strive for control, is to organize every aspect of my life.

Yes, this could become unhealthy if I used this tactic as a way to tear myself down or over analyze my accomplishments, or lack thereof. But I try to view my life as something I have a say in while considering that not everything will be perfect or completely satisfy my goals for myself.

To successfully enact this measure, I try to never go into a day unaware of what I must accomplish, what tasks/work I have to attend to, and stocked with a full calendar and set of alarms that prevent me from missing deadlines. Although mildly time-consuming to detail my life in advance, it is greatly beneficially outweighed through the amount of time this tactic saves me.

Recently, I have noticed how much happier I have been, and feel as if my life is back on track and it's future in my hands. This has allowed me to work an upwards of 50 something hours a week, see and manage friends, read and keep up with hobbies, as well as give me peace of mind and time to relax with loved ones.

I am grateful for the role that organization has played in my life and suggest that everyone incorporate some type of underlying structure in their lives, to realize that anything is achievable with proper organizational preparation.

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