Americans #PrayForFerguson Following Grand Jury's Decision to Not Indict Darren Wilson

( [email protected] ) Nov 25, 2014 04:15 PM EST
Ferguson Protest
People hold hands while praying during a demonstration in Los Angeles, following the grand jury decision in the shooting of Michael Brown. Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters

The hashtag "#PrayForFerguson" has exploded on social media as people share their thoughts following Monday's announcement that police officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted for fatally shooting a African-American teen Michael Brown.

While hundreds of demonstrators stormed the streets of Ferguson, MO in protest of the ruling, thousands of others took to Twitter and Facebook to call for prayer and peace, using the hashtag #PrayForFerguson.

"Staying on our knees here for our area and for all our #Ferguson neighbors. #PrayForFerguson," wrote @rhondarhea.

Others used the hashtag to share prayers for nonviolence: "Father, may people put trust in you, not violence, not government but YOU," tweeted @scottmccown

Others used the tag to voice express shock and dismay at the looting and car fires caught by cameras.

@johncooper tweeted, "We need to #PrayForFerguson AND #PrayForAmerica too. Pray to end hate of any kind and to STOP VIOLENCE. God, help us LOVE."

Some, like @JC_0333 used the #PrayForFerguson tag to encourage those whose businesses and homes were damaged in last night's riots: "My heart is heavy for all the people who no longer have jobs as they were to the ground last night."

Police fired tear gas and smoke canisters along the street as violence erupted in the streets of Ferguson, MO. (Getty)

Ferguson erupted in protests with gunfire, flames, and looting on Monday night after St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch announced that the 12-member grand jury decided not to indict Officer Wilson for the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Brown on Aug. 9.

Wilson, who said he felt "threatened" by Brown, shot and killed the teenager following an altercation inside the officer's car.

The grand jury, which was comprised of nine white and three black St. Louis County residents, reportedly weighed evidence for three months before making their decision.

"The grand jury considered whether Wilson was the initial aggressor, in this case, or whether there was probable cause to believe that Wilson, as an officer, was authorized to use deadly force in this situation, or was acting in self defense," McCulloch explained, noting that jurors heard 70 hours of testimony from 60 witnesses, including three medical examiners, and experts on blood, DNA and firearms, among others.

Following the announcement, President Barack Obama expressed sadness for Brown's parents but called for peace and calm.

Christian leaders also shared their thoughts on the situation.

"Jesus is Greater than Religion" author Jefferson Bethke tweeted "Watching CNN & my heart is breaking. To my black brothers and sisters, I stand with you. #BlackLivesMatter. Praying for shalom. Jesus, come."

Meanwhile, "Just Do Something" author and pastor Kevin DeYoung shared his "Prayer for Ferguson" via Twitter, praying for God to be glorified throughout the situation.

"In the mess of Ferguson, make your name known. In the division and disappointment," he wrote, "make your name sweet. In the rage and reaction, make your name a balm. Be glorified through the winsome witness of the church in St. Louis. Be glorified through the saints-of every race and ethnicity-as we try to walk together and talk together in a more excellent way. Be glorified, O Father, as the Spirit reveals Jesus Christ and opens your word to the hurting and to the hurtful."