On New Year’s Day, al.com posted an article by Carol Robinson stating that the homicide rate in Birmingham for 2014 was one of the lowest in decades, at 59 killings, which is 7 less than the year before. Our lowest homicide rate since 1966 was in 2011, with 57. Of those 59, 8 were ruled justifiable so far. While we understand that for the family and loved ones of these victims even one homicide is too many, we rejoice that the rate continues to trend downward in recent years.
They mentioned a few of the other cities we’ve been praying for in the article:
. Bessemer – 2 homicides, down from 5 the previous year
. Hoover – 2 homicides, down from 4 the previous year
. Fairfield – 4 homicides, same as in 2013
. Brighton, Homewood, Hueytown, Pleasant Grove and Warrior – 1 homicide each
In other news, an article on Yellowhammer said that Birmingham was named Best City in America by Movoto, a real-estate website known for making research-based city rankings.
Lord God of Heaven, we know there are still a lot of things that need to be improved on and prayed for around the metro-Birmingham area, but we are so encouraged by these reports. Our prayers have made and are making a difference! You, Lord God, hear and answer us as we seek You for our cities! I think that as intercessors, or those who have a heart to pray for their city, we tend to think that until we have the men and women we like in office, and all the homeless are taken care of and all the crime is gone, then our prayers haven’t been effective. But those are the lies of Satan because it keeps us discouraged, overwhelmed, and really puts too much focus on our prayers and our ability to change anything because we pray. The truth is, as we pray, we are coming before You, the Sovereign Creator of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Almighty, the Great I AM. You are stepping in and changing things; You are dispatching Your angels on behalf of our towns and cities. You are saving lives and affecting change for our good and Your glory. Hallelujah! Glory to You, Lord!
Lord, I confess that I sometimes grow weary in praying, or I let myself get distracted by being busy. I pray that in this new year, You would give us grace to be more faithful and constant in prayer, keeping our eyes on You and not on the circumstances we hear and read about in the news. Protect us from feeling overwhelmed by evil, by trusting Your perfect plan for us and for the places You have ordained for us to live in and pray for.
Like Paul said in Acts 17:24-28, we acknowledge that You are God of heaven and earth, and You are not served by human hands as though You needed anything, since You are the One who gives to all people life and breath and all things. You ordained the times we should live and “the boundaries of our habitation” so that we would seek You and find You. In You we live and move and have our being. Continue to give us grace to realize how utterly dependent we are on You, so that we would be even more diligent to seek You in all things, and to give You the honor, praise, glory and thanksgiving of which You alone are so worthy.
So thank You, Father, for hearing and answering our prayers on behalf of the metro-Birmingham area. We praise You for the lives that were saved in 2014. We praise You for the favor that is continuing to increase toward Birmingham. It seems that Isaiah 62:4 is coming to pass for this city; it is no longer being called Forsaken or Desolate; instead it is being called a delight and a covenant of righteousness with the Lord is being and will continue to be established. We pray that the entire metro-Birmingham area, all 7 counties and 90 municipalities, will be established in a covenant of righteousness with You. For Your glory. Amen.