God’s Sovereignty Over Oneonta, AL

May I start this post with a personal note and a word of encouragement? This past Saturday marked 3 years since my youngest brother took his own life. When you think about how you might handle a circumstance like that in your life, you think about how horrible and painful it would be. For me, the reality was 100 times worse and more devastating than anything I ever imagined.

At this 3 year mark, though, even though it is still very hard and sad, I can also see God’s amazing grace. As big as that loss is to me, God’s grace is greater. When I am feeling overwhelmed by the flood of grief, His grace carries me. He reminds me that He is ever present in my trouble. He is full of compassion. He understands my griefs and sorrows, and if Iwill be still and rest in Him, He will minister personal healing and peace to my heart.

So whatever you are facing today, I hope you will be encouraged to know that God passionately cares for where you are right now, and His grace IS amazing and sufficient for you. Cease striving against your pain and anguish and know that He is God over and through all of it.

Now on to praying for Oneonta! This is the last of our “O” cities.


Mayor Ross Norris

Located in Blount County

  • 35 miles NE of Birmingham
  • Nestled in the heart of Murphree’s Valley

Incorporated in 1891 (before Alabama was a state)

  • Originally known as a mining community because of a rich seam of iron ore discovered by John Hanley in 1817
  • Became the county seat of Blount County in 1897
  • Population went from its original 12 residents to 6,567 as of 2010

Hosts an annual “Covered Bridge Festival”

Has an abundance of places to worship, according to its website.

Ephesians 1:18-20 – “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the strength of His might, which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”

Dear Father God,
We are in awe of Your blessings with which You have blessed us. The vastness of Your mercy and the richness of Your grace compel us to worship You alone. We celebrate Christ, Him crucified and raised again, and we rejoice that He is seated at Your right hand, Sovereign over everything, even death itself. Glory to You, God! Glory!

We pray that You would pour out those heavenly blessings on the city of Oneonta, Alabama. We pray that as a city, they would eschew our culture’s idea of enlightenment, which requires rejecting You. Instead, we pray they would allow Your Spirit to enlighten their hearts to know You and the high calling with which You have called this city and every individual in it. We pray that they would know Christ. Let them know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (Eph. 3:19). Show them the truth that You are Sovereign over everything that concerns them. May the surpassing greatness of Your power overcome every effort of the enemy in their lives.

As the citizens of Oneonta know You and see Your power, we pray that it would cause this city to experience favor and blessing like never before. Enable this city to provide for its citizens what You have called government to provide. Let justice reign in the courts and in every public office and department. IF there is any injustice or fraud of any kind, we pray that You would shine Your light on it, and that restitution and restoration would come swiftly and completely. Give wisdom and righteous discernment to Mayor Norris and the city leaders. Let them know the hope of Your calling on their lives, the riches of the fellowship of the saints, and the surpassing greatness of Your power toward them who believe.

We pray for all this in the matchless name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

How are you feeling led to pray for Oneonta today?


Odenville Turns 100!

St. Clair County

Mayor Rodney (Buck) Christian

Incorporated in 1914 (100 years old this year!)

2010 population – 3, 585

  • The Harden family moved to the area in 1824 and established a blacksmith shop. Village grew around this shop and became known as Harden’s Shop
  • First school built in 1864 and was a one-room log house.
  • In the early 1890’s a cotton gin was built and the area grew into a regional cotton market.
  • 1908 chosen as the site of St. Clair County’s first high school
  • The James Forman House is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage

Because I am corny with stuff like this, I thought it would be cool to pray out of Psalm 100 in honor of Odenville’s 100th birthday this year!
Psalm 100 – “Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”

Dear Lord God, we come before You today with hearts full of praise and thanksgiving for all You have done for us, in us, and through us. You are a great God and a great King above all gods. You are a good God and we love You.

We lift up Odenville, Alabama to You today. Thank You for Your faithfulness that has sustained this town for 100 years. In the Old Testament, every 50 years was a year of Jubilee, a year of celebration and of cancelled debts. We pray that this year would be a double-Jubilee for Odenville and the people who live and work there. May they experience freedom in Christ, for by His blood every sin-debt they’ve ever had is cancelled. Let them walk in the total freedom that You purchased for them. We pray for restoration for anything and everything the enemy has stolen from the town and its people. Use this year to firmly set this town’s ¬†“feet” on the path You have ordained for them for the next 100 years.

We pray that the people of Odenville would celebrate Your goodness and faithfulness. We pray that nothing would hold them back from fully expressing the praise and thanksgiving You deserve. Cause them to acknowledge and express that every good thing is from Your hand, because You satisfy the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145). Let them know You as LORD, the One True God, and cause them to see specifically how Your lovingkindness and faithfulness has sustained them. Cause them to hold on to Your lovingkindness and faithfulness in the midst of the storms and heartaches of life. Teach them how to shout for joy even in the midst of great pain. Teach them the difference between joy and happiness.

We pray for Mayor Christian and the other town leaders. Bless them with grace and wisdom to lead well. Equip them with everything they need to be the servant-leaders You have called them to be. We pray that they would celebrate Your faithfulness and goodness well as much as they celebrate their town’s 100th birthday. We pray for a spirit of unity and humility among the town’s leadership in order to move forward into all that You have in store for them and their town.

Finally, we pray for the Church in Odenville. Cause them to throw off every religious tradition that is not of You. Use this year of “double-Jubilee” to set Your Body free from everything that has entangled it and held it back from its potential. Bless them and encourage them by letting them rise up with wings like eagles, empowered by Your Spirit to run the race that You have set before them. Use them to lead their town into Your gates with thanksgiving and into Your courts with praise.

We thank you for Odenville and we shout joyfully because of Your goodness and faithfulness in our lives. Hallelujah!!

Well, that was fun! How is the Lord prompting you to pray today, either for Odenville or for your own town/city?

Praying for Oakman, Alabama

We are enjoying a beautiful Spring-like day here in the metro-B’ham area! Before we go out and enjoy it, or after we come back inside, let’s take a few minutes to pray for Oakman, AL today. Also, don’t forget to set your clocks an hour forward tonight!

Located in Walker County

Mayor Dennis Welch

Named Oakman in 1894, after W. G. Oakman, vice-president of the Sloss-Sheffield Iron and Steel Company

2010 population: 789

  • 3.08 square miles of land area
  • Oakman town limits form a circle
  • Settled in the 1820’s
  • Became a shipping center after the Georgia Pacific Railroad came through in 1884.
  • Also called York and Day’s Gap
  • First city in Walker County to install telephone lines.

Psalm 25:8-10 – “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice; and He teaches the humble His way. All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.”

Lord God, we exalt You because You alone are good and highly exalted, and because You are also humble and loving and merciful. You have every right to leave us to die in our sin, yet You chose to save us. You choose to lead us out of the darkness of our hearts, even when we are Your enemies, and to lead us into Your light and truth. We are so grateful.

We pray that the town of Oakman, Alabama would taste and see Your goodness in their midst. Please shine your light on the things hidden in darkness so that freedom and truth would prevail over sin. We pray for Your sustaining grace in the midst of every home. May the streets of Oakman be safe and full of life. As Spring starts to bloom all around us, we ask that Your lovingkindness – Your covenant love and grace – would be so evident in this town, that it seems to drip off of every leaf, and be the fragrance that wafts over every pleasant breeze.

God, we pray that You would bless Mayor Welch and his leadership team with a spirit of humility, and that You would lead them in justice and teach them Your way. Let their steps be ordered by You and protect them from turning away from it by any temptation. Give them grace to be servant-leaders to their town and in their homes and churches. Bless them to know You as their Savior and to build their lives and their careers around You.

Equip and empower the Church in Oakman to walk and live out Your grace in their community. We pray for health and healing among the Body of Christ – not just physical, but mainly spiritual, mental and emotional healing. Raise her up to be the pure Bride of Christ You are calling us all to be. Use the Church to be a change agent in that community for Your Kingdom.

We are all sinners and desperately need Your saving grace. We boldly ask that Oakman would be a whole town saved by grace through faith. Amen.

Praying for North Johns, Alabama

Hi! I am so sorry the blog hasn’t been updated in well over a week. My family and I took a fun-filled trip to Disney World for over a week (we have NEVER been on vacation for more than 5 days before). I took my trusted laptop with me with every intention of posting while I was down there, but alas, when I tried to turn it on, it made an ominous tone and froze up. It’s in the shop now. I hope the little guy pulls through. I’ve discovered I am ridiculously attached to the thing.

We are praying for North Johns, Alabama today. Another little town I had never heard of, even though it’s rather close to the city limits of Birmingham. Ginny’s best efforts turned up a little bit of info, but we really wanted more to go on. On a whim, I asked on Facebook if anyone was familiar with the place. It turns out, my Aunt Mona used to live there! So, I’ll share Ginny’s info, followed by a little bit of info that Aunt Mona gave me.

Located in Jefferson County about 8 miles southwest of Birmingham

Named after Llewllyn Johns, a mining engineer in the 1880’s

2010 Population: 145

  • It’s the second-smallest town in Jefferson County
  • Has a land area of 0.20 square miles
  • At the beginning of the 20th century, North Johns had a population of over 2,000 and was a thriving mining town

From my Aunt Mona: It only runs from stop sign to stop sign. Very small but I have heard stories from the old timers. It used to be a happening place. There used to be a coke plant there. They had a school & fire department at one time. The only thing there now is houses and a couple of churches. I used to go to Johns Baptist Church. I think they might still have a volunteer fire department. When I lived there they still had their own mayor but I don’t know if they still do.¬†North Johns is backed up to Adger,AL. They both need a lot of prayer!!!

Isaiah 40:30-31 – “Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

Heavenly Father, You are our source of strength and hope. We thank You for being our strength, our hope, our deliverer. You are the God who redeems and restores. Your plan is never too early or too late or too little. We are dumb, impatient sheep. What glories we miss when we fail to wait for You.

Lord God, we pray for the town of North Johns today. This was once a place that knew strength and prosperity, yet now it sounds like it’s slowly fading into history. We ask that Your perfect plan for this town would be fully realized in Your perfect timing. For those who still live there, we pray that You would teach them what it means to wait for You. For the youths in and around North Johns, we pray, Lord God, that You would cause their fruitless deeds to fail. Bring them to the end of themselves so that all they have is to wait for You. In the name of Jesus, we rebuke the lie that says they have to fend for themselves because no one else will. We declare that Abba Father will be their father, and that He will supply all of their needs according to His riches in glory! Father, You have a plan and a purpose for every single person in North Johns, and we in Jesus’ name we declare the enemy will not get to steal those plans or purposes, and he will not get to destroy their lives, and he will not get to kill their hope! Lord, starting today, let them see and experience the abundant life that is found in a real relationship with You. Be strong and mighty on their behalf, Lord God! Let them see Your salvation. Raise them up on wings like eagles. Put them on the path You have ordained for them, and let them run and not get tired. Let them walk with You and not grow weary in well-doing.

For those in North Johns who have been waiting for You, and who are no longer youths, we pray that they would see the salvation of the Lord on their behalf. Keep their eyes fixed on You. Let them see that all Your promises are true. As they wait for You, reveal to them Your splendor and majesty, and Your power. Revive them and let them soar on Your faithful promises and Your unfailing love.

Lord, bless North Johns and its people to be everything in You and for You that You have called them to be. Amen.

How is the Lord prompting you to pray for this town today?