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Reverend organizing 3-month prayer after being shot 6 times

Published: May. 14, 2017 at 7:39 PM EDT|Updated: May. 15, 2017 at 12:20 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A church in the Parkland neighborhood is starting a three-month long prayer group to fight against the gun violence in Louisville.

The idea came from a local pastor who was shot six times in April. Reverend James Mathis' recovery was quick, and the incident motivated him to start a spiritual anti-violence initiative.

"Unless you see it, you won't believe it," Mathis said. "Unless you see how good God is."

Reverend Mathis is in his 50's. He has several bandages that mark three gunshot wounds on his chest, one on his stomach, one on his left leg and one on his right hand.

"His motives were to rob me," Mathis said. "When I opened the door, he was looking for something that I did not have."

Mathis was attacked on April 19 around 1:30 a.m. in Shively at a home he was living in on Dixie Highway. Kerry Barley, 36, is suspected of breaking into the home and shooting Mathis.

Mathis remembers the feelings that overcame his body after being left alone and wounded.

"I felt the blood and my mind was thinking 'find help'," Mathis said.

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Mathis said he found a man on Dixie Highway who helped him called police.

"I saw the lights of the Shively police coming very fast toward me, and Amen, it seemed like God said 'just go ahead sit down'," Mathis said.

None of Mathis' organs were hit; he spent four days in the hospital. The quick recovery motivated him to start a three-month, 24 hours a day prayer group against gun violence.

"I know God saved me that day and he wants a solution," Mathis said.

Mathis and another pastor at Mt. Sinai A.O.H Church of God are asking people to sign up for half-hour periods to pray for the violence to stop in Louisville.

"Police can only do so much," Pastor Gena Redmon said. "But what we need to have happen, is we need everyone to come together as a community to solve this issue."

Redmon and Mathis hope starting the prayer chain in late May will lower the crime that typically ramps up in the summer.

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"This is a new movement, because a supernatural event happened that night because God showed up," Mathis said.

Police are still looking for Kerry Barley, the man suspected of shooting Mathis.

The prayer group is hosting a kickoff event on May 23 at 6 p.m. at the Mt. Sinai A.O.H Church of God. For more information on the prayer chain and to sign up for a time slot, call (502) 776-1541.

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