Two Burlington City Council members kicked off 40 days of prayer Wednesday as one of the ways to combat rising crime in the southeast Iowa city. Councilman Gary Thomas says he came up with the idea along with councilman Jim Davidson

Thomas say it’s not a city government sponsored event, as he called the city religious leaders together and they have responded. Thomas says they need the help of religious leaders to make a difference. “Councilman Davidson and I believe that a strong and vibrant city begins with spiritual leadership,” Thomas says. Thomas says the prayer movement is just the start of the effort.

Thomas says they are going to form a steering committee which will work with business and community leaders “to solve the problems that are widespread in our community today.” Thomas and Davidson were joined on the steps of Burlington City Hall by at least a dozens members of area churches and community action groups — all of whom expressed unanimous support for the idea.