LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With hands linked and eyes shut tight, a group in the Lufkin community is praying for a better and stronger city.
"The spiritual health of our community is just as important as the physical," Mike Nance, a community member said. "We come together and lift our voices to God together and lift up our community."
After the August 2010 deaths of Artha Griffin and Brianna Shaw, community leaders noticed the crime rise and decided it was time to make a change.
"We thought the best thing to do was unite together and pray," Pastor William Ricks, of First Baptist church in Lufkin said.
So it was agreed that every Saturday people would meet at a park and join hands to pray. Each month the group changes the park location so every part of Lufkin is covered.
"We cover the whole entire city within the year," Robert Shankle, Lufkin City Councilmen said. "That way you're getting prayer done in every part in the city. Now it feels like a family."
This community turned family has seen a lot of healing from their weekly prayers.
"Prayer changes people, and we've seen our own lives grow and get better," Ricks said. "We've seen others touched and affected in a tremendous way. We know that prayer makes a difference, no doubt about it."
Their park prayer gatherings is one way this group said they're keeping Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's dream alive.
"He knew how to bring people together, and that legacy continues even with this prayer group that's what we do," Nance said. "We live his legacy even today."
"Prayer has a way of bringing down racial walls, discrimination and so forth," Ricks said.
"We are trying to fulfill his dream, but we still have ways to go," Shankle said. "Me being a young African American man, I stand on his shoulders."
If you're interested in joining this group in prayer they'll be meeting at Chambers Park in Lufkin at 7 a.m. for the rest of January.
They decide next month's location on the last Saturday of each month.