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Churches organize prayer meetings after south Florida school shooting

Prayer circles take place in wake of Parkland school shooting

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Prayer circles are happening across the state of Florida in the wake of the Parkland school shooting.

Locally, churches are organizing prayer meetings to comfort those anxious following the south Florida massacre.

Tim Cole, pastor at the West Friendship Baptist Church, called Sunday night's prayer circle, saying he wants to offer hope to the staff, students and parents in Duval County. He said it's unfortunate bad things happen, but people need to be prepared.

A prayer took place outside of the Duval County School Board building. Those praying recited the names of all 197 Duval County schools.

Cole is just one of several people both locally and across the state calling for people to pray after the shooting.

"I planned it because it was well-needed. We need prayer. They've already taken prayer out of school, and I think that's another reason why things are happening now, because prayer is out of school," Cole said.

Seventeen people were shot to death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and people have called prayer vigils hoping the violence stops.

Despite some saying gun control is the answer, Cole said prayer is.

"These things are going to happen. The day and time we're living in. These things are going to happen. Many people don't want to talk about the devil and the enemy, but the enemy is loose in our nation," Cole said. "I encourage parents and students to not be afraid. Just pray and ask God to protect us."

There is also a prayer circle being held Monday at The Bethel Church downtown. It will be hosted by the local Parent Teacher Association and begins at 7 p.m.