Blountsville

  • Mayor Randy Millwood
  • Founded in 1818 from land ceded to the Federal gov’t by the Creek Nation in 1814
  • Was once a mixed Creek/Cherokee Native American village
  • Named for TN governor Willie G. Blount, who provided assistance to Alabama settlers during the Creek War of 1813-1814.
  • A major crossroads in early Alabama. Became a Confederate depot for the cavalry.
  • In northeastern section of AL, known as the mineral region.
  • 5.5 square miles
  • Population 7, 330 in 2010
  • Affected by historic April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak (Tornado activity above state average)
  • Home to the Spring Valley Beach Water Park

Heavenly Father, we love You and adore You. You see and know everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen. You hold all our days in Your hand. You bring redemption and restoration out of loss. You are merciful, gracious, faithful, and there is no god like our God.

You are also the God of Justice. The rich history of Blountsville touches on the injustices that occurred against the Native Americans in this country. Father, as a nation, You know that we have recognized those sins and have done our best to repent. So we ask that You would heal the land from those injustices, because of the blood of Jesus Christ. As this city seeks to preserve and learn from its past, we pray that Your light and truth would shine through the hard parts. We pray Amos 5:25, that You would cause Your justice to roll down like waters, and Your righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. To me, it’s as if their Spring Valley Beach Water Park is a visual reminder of that verse.

We pray that You would bless this city, according to Your grace and lovingkindness. Please give Mayor Millwood, the city council, and other city leaders Your wisdom. Cause them to trust in You with all their heart, and to not lean on their own understanding. May they acknowledge You in all their ways, so that You will direct their paths. (Prov. 3:5,6)

You have a plan and purpose for Blountsville, and so we pray that You would accomplish it in the earth as it already is in Heaven. Provide what the citizens need to live lives that glorify You, giving them everything pertaining to life and godliness. Bless the businesses in the city to manage well and find their fulfillment and satisfaction in You, and not in their profit margin. Raise up Kingdom-minded business leaders in Blountsville, to be able to invest in Your Kingdom through local ministries.

We pray all these things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Please join the prayer conversation for Blountsville by leaving your prayer or Scripture in the comments below.

Birmingham from the Mountain

Birmingham from Vulcan

My family and I visited Vulcan Park last Monday. While I’m not crazy about a huge statue of a false god looking over the city, I absolutely LOVE the view from up there, and reading about the elements that God blessed the metro-B’ham area with and how the steel industry shaped this city and surrounding areas.

As I stood at the railing, looking at the magnificent views, I felt an ache of longing in my heart. The city looks so beautiful from that vantage point. The sun bright and the sky was a brilliant blue that day we were there, and the city shone like a jewel. It made me ache for the future, when Birmingham becomes “the city of Jesus’ dreams”, as Paul Hughes of Birmingham Prayer Furnace always talks about.

Then the Lord gave me His perspective, which made me ache with grief. When He looks at Birmingham, He can see the least and the lost in the streets. He sees the poor and homeless, who have created their own little community among the city’s abandoned buildings. He sees the abused and neglected, who are almost completely devoid of hope. He sees the broken homes, and the children who need a mom AND a dad. He sees the drugs, the human trafficking and other crime. He sees the corruption, the pride, arrogance, and self-serving attitudes. And it breaks His heart.

So what hope do we have that this city will ever become the city of Jesus’ dreams? We have the best hope of all – Jesus Himself. When God looks at this city, He also sees the shed blood of His Son, covering the land. He sees the prayers of His people rising like incense before His very throne. He sees His Bride, the Church in Birmingham, starting to wake from her slumber and become the Bride He has been waiting for. He sees how He will cause all things to work together for our good and His glory by redeeming everything the enemy meant for evil. Hallelujah!!

So join me in praying for those real needs in our cities, and rejoice with me that the God of this city – the One True God and not a false statue of a god – sees us and has redeemed us by the blood of Christ.

Birmingham – The “Magic” City?

. Mayor – William Bell
. Largest city in Alabama
. 151.9 square miles
. Population as of 2011 – 212, 413

Looking into the history of the city of Birmingham is quite fascinating. Most of us are familiar with its more recent history, especially since this year marks the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Church bombing and all the pivotal things that happened in the Civll Rights Movement in 1963.

Looking further back, though, it seems this city has always been marked with “magical” growth and prosperity, followed by struggle and hardship. It was dubbed “Magic City” because of its rapid population growth. Incorporated in 1871, it had 1,200 residents. Two years later, it had jumped to 4,000. However, in just two more years, in 1875, it had plummeted back to just 1,200 due to disease. By 1885, the population skyrocketed to 25,000 residents due to the Pratt mining operation and its production of coke. However, it was torn by violence due to dangerous working conditions,  conflicts between the unions and mine owners, and political corruption.

The city enjoyed another economic boom following World War I, as did most of the nation, but by the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan had gained a foothold and violence against African-Americans in the city increased dramatically. Then the Great Depression hit the nation, and Birmingham was deemed the hardest hit city in the nation by President Hoover’s administration. The city continued to struggle until World War II, after which the city started to become more economically diverse.

Of course, we’re all familiar with the struggle for civil rights during the 50’s and 60’s, and the prominent role Birmingham played in that struggle. Today, though, the citizens of this city work hard to put our violent history behind us and have learned to appreciate the diversity of this city for the treasure that it is. Birmingham is also recognized for its health care facilities, research, education, and the arts.

As an intercessor, I have long felt this city is marked for something that only the Lord can accomplish. It’s history so far can be credited to man – from its economically prosperous times, to its tragically violent times. I believe God is ready to do something in Birmingham that can only be credited to Him. It will be a city after God’s own heart.

Father, my heart is too full to put into words what I feel about Birmingham, and we dare not presume to tell You how to do Your will. So we simply submit this city to You, and we ask that Your will would be done and that Your kingdom would come in Birmingham as it already is in Heaven. Tear down the strongholds of hate and corruption. Expose what has been done in darkness, so that it can be redeemed by Your grace. Let this city and its people be redeemed of the Lord, and shine as a beacon of Your love, Your light, and Your truth. For Your glory.

I would love to hear how the Lord is leading you to pray for the city of Birmingham.

Bessemer

The city of Bessemer is where I grew up, and so for all of the opinions about this city that are out there, a part of my heart will always be connected to it and want the best for it.

. Mayor Kenneth Gulley
. Founded in 1886 by iron and steel magnate Henry Fairfield DeBardeleben
. Named for Sir Henry Bessemer, who invented the open-hearth method, a major cost-saving technique, for steel production.
. Its nickname is “Marvel City” because of its rapid growth in its early years
. 18 miles SW of Birmingham
. Has a land area of 40.8 square miles
. 27.2% of population is below the poverty line
. Tornado and earthquake activity is above state average.

Isaiah 62:4 – It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken”, nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; but you will be called, “My delight is in her,” and your land, “Married”; For the LORD delights in you, and to Him your land will be married.

Heavenly Father,
This is a city that has been scorned and ridiculed because of corruption, poverty, and oppression. Yet, it can also be a beautiful city with a rich history. We know that You are Sovereign over everything. Your Word says that you raise up kings and establish kingdoms. Are cities any different? If not, then we know You have raised up the city of Bessemer to fulfill a part of Your plans and purposes for Your kingdom.

We pray that You would turn Your face toward Bessemer, and give it favor among its citizens and surrounding communities. Give Mayor Gulley and the city leaders Your wisdom and counsel. We pray that You would do such a work in the City of Bessemer, that  the scorn it has endured in years past would only be a very distant memory. Let it be like a city set on a hill, shining with the Light of Your love and Your Spirit, drawing people to You.

You are a faithful and compassionate God. We pray that the people of Bessemer would experience You as their faithful, compassionate Redeemer and Lord. Let them not be abandoned to the enemy. Let them not substitute a real relationship with You for tradition and religion. Set them on the Rock Christ Jesus.

We pray these things for Bessemer in the matchless name of Jesus,
Amen

Is there a promise from Scripture that you would want to pray for Bessemer?

Beauty From Ashville

. County seat for St. Clair county, along with Pell City
. Originally named St. Clairsville, after a hero of the American Revolution, General Arthur St. Clair
. Name changed to Ashville, named after John Ash, the first white settler in the area and a senator in the state’s first General Assembly
. Established in 1822
. Mayor is Robert McKay
. 38 miles NE of Birmingham
. Tornado activity above state average – seriously damaged by April 27 tornadoes
. Median household income below state average

Father, this town is rich in history, and has done a good job of protecting and honoring their history. You are the One who ordained this town’s existence. You had, and still have, a plan and purpose for it and its citizens; a plan to advance Your kingdom and to bring You glory, and to bless the people.

The name, Ashville, and the title You gave me for this post led me to Isaiah 61:3 – “To grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” So, Lord, we pray that the people of Ashville, Alabama, would receive a garland instead of ashes/destruction. This town has experienced much trauma and mourning in the wake of the April 27, 2011 tornadoes, and so we ask that You would give them the oil of gladness to overcome their grief. Give them a mantle of praise, and let the joy of the Lord by their strength.

We pray for the Church in Ashville to rise up and to be girded with Your strength. Equip them to minister to their city as an extension of Your grace and mercy. Plant their churches on the firm foundation of Your Word, and cause Your people to flow in the stream of Your Spirit, so that they would be like oaks of righteousness for Your glory and Your name’s sake.

We pray for divine wisdom and unity among the mayor, the city leaders and planners in Ashville. Lord, please go before them to make their paths straight, and stand behind them to be their rear guard. We pray that they would be used by You to make Ashville the city You want it to be , and even more beautiful than before the destruction of the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.

How is the Lord leading you to pray for Ashville?

Argo, AL – A Town of Two Counties

Greetings in the name of the Lord! Today we will be praying for Argo. It was difficult to find information on this town. I would really like to know where the name came from. If anyone out there knows, please share it with us.
Here is what I did find out:
. Straddles 2 counties – St. Clair and Jefferson
. Neighbor is the city of Trussville
. Population is made up of mostly married couples
. Low poverty rate
. Tornado and earthquake activity is above state average.
(Hasn’t that been said of nearly every city we’ve prayed for so far??)
. Land area is 12.2 sq. miles

Eph. 6:10 – (Amplified) “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord and be empowered through your union with Him. Draw your strength from Him, that strength which His boundless might provides.”

Lord God, You are our strength and shield; a very present help in times of trouble. You are our provider. You provide pardon for our sin; peace for our storms; and Your own presence to guide us and comfort us. May we continue to look to You in good times, bad times, and all the times in between, because You alone are strong and mighty. You alone have boundless might.

We thank You for how you have blessed the city of Argo. You have blessed them with peace and prosperity. Lord, we are like sheep, and we too easily forget that every good and perfect gift comes from Your hand. We pray that the city leaders and the people of Argo would recognize that Your hand has provided the good things they enjoy. Keep them from being deceived into thinking it was by their own hand that they have come to enjoy their prosperity, but instead cause it to draw the city of Argo closer to You. The blessing of prosperity can become a curse if it causes us to turn away from You or reject You.

May the people of Argo draw their strength from You. Unite their hearts to honor and revere Your name. Teach the leaders how to walk with You, so that they can experience Your strength and power in their lives. May the Church in Argo rise up in the power that is theirs because of their union with You. May they lift up the name of Jesus in their city, Who is their strong tower, so that the righteous may run to it and be safe.

We lift up the young families in Argo, and ask that You would protect them and uphold them with Your righteous right hand. It is so hard to raise a family and sustain a marriage in our culture today. They need the strength that comes from Your boundless might. Cause them to draw on that power that comes through a personal relationship with You. Teach husbands what it means to be strong in the Lord rather than their own strength. Teach wives how to draw from Your power as they seek to be in union with You and with their husbands.

Protect the people of Argo from the wiles of the devil, and teach them how to stand in the strength of the Lord. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

What does the Lord lay on your heart as you pray for Argo?

Altoona – High Land of Great Worth

Today we are praying for Altoona.
. Gadsden area, Etowah County
. 44 miles NE of Birmingham
. Established in 1908
. Currently has more female residents than male.
. The name is Native American and means “high land of great worth.
. Mayor is Richard Nash

For some reason, the passage that comes to mind for Altoona is Psalm 145. If you have time and feel led, I highly recommend reading through all 21 verses. But for now, let’s focus on verses 14-16.

“The LORD sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

Oh God, You are our God and King. We will bless Your name forever and ever. You are worthy to be praised because Your greatness is unfathomable. The splendor of Your majesty is beyond compare. You show Yourself faithful and true to every generation, and we can rehearse Your faithful and wonderful deeds to one another, to exalt You and to build our trust in Your goodness.

Father, we pray for the city of Altoona. We pray that You would lift up, redeem, and restore those things, places, and people that have fallen or been bowed down through circumstances or generational bondage. We plead the blood of Jesus over the people of Altoona, and we declare that His blood breaks every yoke of bondage. We put the name of the Righteous Judge on Altoona, to undo deeds of darkness and to set things right.

Would You cause Mayor Nash and the city council to look to You for their every need? We pray that this city would experience Your supernatural provision in ways that they cannot deny. We pray that Altoona, from the mayor to the youngest baby, would experience Your open hand of provision, and not just for their needs, but also for the desires that You have placed within each person in that city. We pray that they would not run to and fro, seeking some way to satisfy their desires, but that they would encounter You, as a city and as individuals, to satisfy their souls. We confess that only You can satisfy us by loving us, forgiving us, and giving us life abundantly.

We call Altoona the high land of great worth, not because of its location or historical value, but because You love it; because You say about the people that they are precious to You and You rejoice over them with singing; because You have a covenant with the land that redeems it from every deceitful treaty that has ever been signed against it. We pray that You would use Altoona for Your purpose and plans, and that this city would bring You glory  – that every “mouth would speak the praise of the LORD, and all flesh would bless Your holy name forever and ever.”(Ps. 145:21) – AMEN.

Please join your prayers with ours in the comments below, or share a Scripture or whatever the Lord lays on your heart. We would especially love to hear from someone who lives or comes from Altoona. God bless!