Baltimore residents turn to prayer power to fight crime and violence

Residents gather at the city hall in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 3, 2015, to pray for an end to violence and for the retoration of peace in their community.Reuters

Hundreds of people gathered in Baltimore last week and prayed together in a demonstration of unity against crime and violence that has shaken the city to its core.

The prayer walks continued even as two more people were shot on Saturday.

Baltimore has had a long history of violence including the fatal beating of African-American Tyrone West by Baltimore officers and the death of Freddie Gray after he received injuries while at the back of a Baltimore police van.

Armed only with their prayers, the people who joined the Cherry Hill Prayer Walk paraded on the streets to declare their determination to fight crime.

"It's very important because we believe that God can do any ... and prayer changes things," said Pastor Ebony Harvin.

Michael Battle, Cherry Hill Prayer Walk member, said, "the message we're trying to get out is reaching the people."

"You know I think it takes all of us, all parts of the community working together as one Baltimore and we can't ignore the power and strength of the faith community," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake.

In Forest Park, not too far away from Cherry Hill, a smaller prayer group held their Faith Walk 2015, as they hoped and prayed for the same reason: peace for Baltimore.

"For these young men, they are not all bad, some of them need jobs. They need help. We need fathers to come to the streets," said Pastor Steve Turner.

The Cherry Hill Prayer Walk was established four years ago with just 46 people. On Saturday, nearly 200 people in their red and white T-Shirts graced the event, all believing that prayer changes things.