Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA, is a 5200-strong historically African-American church founded in 1803 outside the nation’s capital. More than 15,000 people tune into the church services online. Smith, 28, works alongside the senior pastor, Rev. Howard John-Wesley. On Sunday, during a special prayer service they call “Praying with the Pastor,” the church will offer a special prayer for our nation, for the victims and for the victimizers of this week’s events.
Our country is one that was built by people who had a deep and abiding faith in God. We are a nation of faith and this week our faith as a nation was tested. When we are faced with unexplainable tragedy, turmoil, or hardship, there is often a temptation to question our faith and the sovereignty of God. But now is not the time to question our faith, now is the time to activate it. In the words of our pastor, Howard John-Wesley: As nation who believes in God, “we cannot allow what we don’t understand about God to cause us to question what we do [understand].” It is our faith that sustains us—our belief that no matter how bad it looks, God is in control. We pray for the countless individuals and families affected by the tragedies this week and pray, that above all, we as a nation will maintain our hope, our trust, and our confidence in the all-knowing, ever-present, all powerful nature of God.