What Praying Did

We did it! We prayed for all 90 municipalities in the metro-Birmingham area! It took 100 posts over a year-and-a-half. I was looking back through some of the first posts, and was surprised to see how much the posts changed over time. It was interesting to also notice how one of our smaller towns, Eldridge easily got the most visits – with over 200 in one day! That was amazing!

Kevin, the executive director of Mission Birmingham, of which this blog is an initiative, often reminded me that the goal of this blog wasn’t about readership, follows and comments, but about simply praying for the entire metro-B’ham area, one municipality at a time. As I focused on just praying, I saw how God really gave me His prayers to pray, and we even got to see God working in some of these towns and cities. My prayers also changed. I noticed they became much more evangelistic in nature, which is not my normal “prayer-default”, if you will. It made me wonder what ministries and evangelistic efforts we were coming along-side of through prayer in those cities and towns. We may never know this side of Heaven how God used those prayers, but we can be confident that He heard and answered. As we wrapped up praying through all 90 municipalities, the Lord suddenly started reminding me of His Scriptural promises regarding prayer. Nearly every day over the that week, it seemed I “happened across” another one. I think one of my current favorites is I John 5:14-15 – “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” If you keep that in mind as you look over the posts, and all the things we’ve prayed for the metro-Birmingham area, you should get pretty excited at what God is up to. At least, I do.

I have always loved the City of Birmingham, even from the time I was a little girl. We lived in Bessemer at the time, and whenever we had to drive into Birmingham, I would be in awe at the huge, old buildings, the straight streets laid out in a grid, the parks, all of it, really. I’ve also loved Bessemer, because it was my hometown, and even back then I could “feel” the history emanating from the buildings and streets, even if I was too young to understand it. For instance, I used to think DeBardeleben Park (I think I spelled that right. I hope.) was named for a Spanish explorer, not the man who basically founded the city and contributed so much to the development of the area and the steel industry. But then as I started looking into the history of the towns and cities – with the help of our awesome researcher, Ginny – I became so fascinated by how so many of them in this area were tied together by the steel-making industry or other common denominators. I also fell in love with each one we prayed for. I have long believed that you cannot pray regularly for someone without a them becoming knit to your heart. Apparently, it is also true for places you pray for. I feel so connected to all 90 of municipalities. I would love to have the time to go and explore each of these places in person. Maybe someday….

So as we turn the page of this blog, and start focusing our prayers more on current events and needs in the metro-Birmingham area, my heart is full of thanksgiving to God for allowing us to play a part in His plan for each town and city. I’m grateful to know He has heard our prayers, and will accomplish His will in them as it already is in Heaven. “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

Is there a particular city or post that stuck with you? If you were with us for most of the journey, did it change your perspective in any way as well? I would love to hear about it if it did!

 

Last but Not Least, Woodstock

Here it is! Our very last municipality to pray over!

www.woodstockalabama.com

Mayor Ricky Kornegay (this may not be the most recent information, but it was all I could find)

Straddles Bibb and Tuscaloosa Counties

  • The Bibb County portion is part of the metro-B’ham area
  • The Tuscaloosa County portion is part of the Tuscaloosa-metro area

2010 population: 1, 428

Named for Woodstock, England

First settled in the 1820s along the old Tuscaloosa to Huntsville Stagecoach line

  • Became the center of a thriving railroad business
  • In 1872, a rail line was installed down to West Blocton to ship the large abundance of coal from that area
  • Woodstock became a storage yard for coal, red and brown iron ore, and cotton
  • Also in 1872, a blast furnace was built by a man who had moved to town from Tannehill to manufacture pig iron

Town was the roots of a newspaper business in the 1800s

  • Publication moved to Six Mile and then to Birmingham where it became the “Birmingham News”

Formally incorporated in 1996 as North Bibb. Name was changed back to Town of Woodstock on 2000

Let’s wrap up by praying the Lord’s Prayer over this town, because really it’s my prayer for all of the metro-Birmingham area as well.

Matthew 6:9-13 – ““Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]”

Holy, Holy, Holy are You, Lord God Almighty! Your name is unlike any other, and nothing man or Satan can do is able to cast one shadow on the glory of Your holy name. Your name encompasses all that You are – every characteristic – and it will take Eternity to know You fully. You delight to reveal Yourself to us, and we delight to discover just how wonderful, amazing, Sovereign, just, perfect, good….holy You are.

We pray that the people of the Town of Woodstock would know Your holiness. We pray that Your kingdom would come to Woodstock, and Your will be done there as it already is in Heaven. We pray for strong marriages, safe homes and schools for children, widows to have what they need not just to survive but to thrive. We pray for godly leadership in their government through Mayor Kornegay and the Town Council, and for godly business leaders and church leaders.

Father, we ask for supernatural provision for everything the people of Woodstock needs for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), for physical and spiritual provision. Sustain them and let them find satisfaction in Your will for their lives and their town. Thank You that You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Ps. 145:16).

Lord, may the power of Your Gospel cover the Town of Woodstock, bringing forgiveness of sins, and release from the stronghold of shame and despair. Uproot bitterness and unforgiveness and bring restoration and reconciliation. Thank You that forgiving someone does not make the wrong they did “okay”. Wrong is never okay. Give us all grace to understand what real forgiveness is and what it looks like.

Deliver the Town of Woodstock from every evil scheme of the enemy. Shine Your light and expose in Your way the wolves in sheep’s clothing, the predators, the liars, any who are choosing by their behavior to lead others to destruction or to harm others. Establish righteous leaders and bless them. Let salvation prosper in this town.

Thank You, Father, that You have good plans for Woodstock to bless them and prosper them, to give them future and a hope in You. (Jer. 29:11). You have done wonderful things over this town’s history, and we pray that You would continue to. We pray all of these things in Your name, for Your matchless power and glory which has dominion forever. Amen.

So how long have you been on this prayer journey with us? Some of you have prayed through 90 municipalities with us! This journey has changed me and how I pray. I will share more about that in the next post. Thank you so much for joining us in our prayer journey! We will continue praying over the metro-Birmingham area in the days ahead.

Praying for Wilton – the Town with 7 Names

This is our next-to-last place on our prayer journey through the entire metro-Birmingham area! Eeek! I’m excited, which is understandable, but also nervous, which is strange. I think I dislike change more than I care to admit, and I’ve really, really enjoyed getting to know these cities and towns. We’ll definitely be revisiting them and praying for them, though, and doing posts that focus on current news, events, and concerns throughout the area.

Today, we’re praying for Wilton, Alabama. Most of my information was found through an article written in 1976 by Bert Seaman for the Shelby County Reporter. It was copied by Bobby Joe Seales for the Shelby County Historical Society’s website. The information I did not get from there I got from the town’s website (mayor’s name, location and water shortage fact) and from Wikipedia (population count only).

www.wiltonalabama.com

Mayor Joe Fancher (I’m not sure this is the most up-to-date info. If not, someone please correct me.)

Located in the southwestern section of Shelby County, approximately 40 miles south of Birmingham

Established around 1818. Incorporated in 1918.

Before being named Wilton around the turn of the century, the community was known by 7 different names:

  • The first settlers were Scotch-Irish farmers and called it Woodsborough
  • Spelling changed to Woodsboro
  • Around 1856 it was known simply as Woods
  • Known as Junction in 1872 because of the different railroad tracks that came through the town
  • Became Birmingham Junction in 1889
  • Called Bismarck after the German chancellor
  • During WWI years, that name became unpopular, so the post master renamed it Catoosa, after a town in Georgia.
  • Finally named Wilton after Wilton, England, because both were railroad centers.

In 1936, the town almost ran out of water due to a very dry summer. There was no water system, so citizens relied on wells, cisterns and rain barrels. The mayor at the time asked for assistance from the PWA and by Spring the town had their own pump house and a 10,000 gallon storage tank.

2012 population: 694

Lamentations 3:22-26 (This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible) – “The LORD’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the LORD.”

What an amazing, profound and unique truth that Your lovingkindness, or as we know it better, Your mercies, never cease! Hallelujah! In a world that is so fickle and ever-changing, what a comfort Your faithfulness is! I am so glad, God, that this is who You are. You are Faithful and True. Your love never fails. No matter what comes in life, no matter how people may disappoint or even betray us, You are the One we cling to because You do not change and You are our portion. Praise You, God! Hallelujah!

Lord God, may the people of Wilton know and experience you as this faithful, merciful God in ever-increasing capacity. Let the widow know that You are her portion. Let the abused or neglected child experience Your unfailing love and compassion. Let the successful business leader know that You are their source of strength and hope, not their business. Let the parents know You are the source of their salvation for themselves and their children. Give them the capacity to wait on Your salvation.

Father, the story of the town almost running out of water makes me think of the story of the woman at the well in John 4, and how You revealed Yourself as the source of Living Water. We pray that the town of Wilton would experience You as the Living Water that satisfies the longings of their heart. We pray that You would wash over this town and bring new life into places that have been dormant; bring refreshing where there has been stagnation; bring liberty where there has been bondage; bring healing where there has been hurt and disease; bring hope to the hopeless, and life to the dying; cause strongholds of wickedness and deception to be washed away by the rushing of Your Spirit and Your Living Water through Wilton. Make the heart of Wilton be glad and rejoice in the streams of Living Water, and in Your salvation.

We pray for Mayor Fancher and the town’s leadership. Protect them from rushing into those things that seem to satisfy but cannot sustain. Give them discernment to recognize those things, and enable them to wait on You and Your provision for them and their town. Let them see Your faithfulness in their personal lives and in how You lead the town. God, we ask that You would be their portion and their hope. Amen.

What is your favorite passage or verse from the Bible? I would to hear what it is in the comments!