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Angelenos pray to calm violence

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A coalition of anti-gang intervention groups, law enforcement, and clergy launched a month-long prayer-a-thon Tuesday. They hope to inspire a non-violent December. The Southern California Cease Fire Committee calls the effort “Without a Bang.”

“We would like to go into the new year without a bang,” says organizer Ben Owens.

Los Angeles County recorded 63 homicides in December of 2009. The Southern California Cease Fire Committee has mapped out a spiritual strategy to change that. It starts with an alphabetical list of the county’s more than 300 cities and neighborhoods.

“We’ve designed a roster – a prayer roster – where you have at least 3 communities or cities in various time slots, you know, 15-minute increments," Owens explains. "It boils down to 104 slots, and that essentially covers the entire county of Los Angeles.” he says.

Owens says slots are still available and the committee will gladly take more than 104 people to fill them. He expects a lot of Angelenos would be willing to try this use of the power of prayer.

"It’s something that we feel most people probably do, anyway, depending upon the circumstances of their lives, or maybe it’s something that they do on a daily basis, and we’re just asking for some inclusion of our communities," says Owens. "Whether it’s Watts or Beverly Hills, wherever it might be, I think we all need prayer."

Prayers of all religions and denominations are welcome and can e-mail him if interested in participating.