The Wellhouse – Our Last Stop on the Nonprofits Summer Prayer Journey

I have been so blessed by this prayer journey we’ve been on this summer, and I’m sad this is the last one we get to go in person to pray with and for. We’ve only scratched the surface of all the great nonprofit organizations/ministries we have in the metro-B’ham area.

This week we are visiting and praying for The Wellhouse. Founded in 2011 by Tajuan McCarty, The Wellhouse is a faith-based, Christ-centered ministry which offers immediate shelter and traditional housing to women who have been trafficked, are prostituting, or otherwise sexually exploited. In addition to housing, they also provide for all of their ladies’ basic needs as well as providing life skills classes, GED prep, and other enrichment to help them become self-sufficient and to give them a sense of self-worth. The goal is for women to go on to live full and productive lives. Each woman stays as long as it takes to reach that goal.

The Wellhouse is the only 24-hour shelter in the Southeast offering immediate housing assistance to women being prostituted. Other such shelters often require certain paperwork which many ladies in these situations just don’t have and can’t get. In addition to being a place that ministers to these precious ladies, the ministry also spends a lot of time educating the public about the epidemic of sexual trafficking: how it happens all around us, signs to look for to spot a sex-trafficked victim, what to do if you do suspect something, and other awareness issues. Ms. McCarty also spends time advocating to have laws changed to better protect victims and punish the traffickers.

Carolyn Potter is their executive director. There are numerous ways to help this ministry, as you can find on their website. The best way is to pray. Another great way to help is by purchasing stunning photographs from Picture Birmingham, which gives 100% of their profit to The Wellhouse. If you can’t decide which photograph you like best, and your budget can’t afford more than one, be on the lookout for the Picture Birmingham 2016 calendar, which comes out in early Fall. In the spirit of full disclosure, the proceeds from the calendar go to both The Wellhouse and to Mission Birmingham, the nonprofit ministry from which this blog started and who has been a key organizer and facilitator of the Nonprofits Summer Prayer Journey.

During our time of prayer at The Wellhouse this morning, we will be praying through verses from Romans 8, and so we’ll use it for our prayer time here on the blog, too.

Romans 8:1-2 – 1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Lord Jesus, You are the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. To You rightfully belongs all blessing and honor and glory and power and praise. You died for us while we were enemies of God and children of wrath. You have set us free from the law of sin and of death. You have sealed us with Your Spirit so that we can one day share in Your inheritance as sons and daughters of the Father. Glory! Hallelujah!!

Jesus, we raise up these precious ladies to Your throne today. You know their stories. Even in the midst of the darkest moments, You gave them strength to survive, and You have brought them out of those dark places into a place where Light dwells, and where the Living Water washes them and sets them free. We declare, in agreement with Your own words, that there is now NO condemnation for them in Christ. You have set them free from shame and guilt. We pray that they would come to a place of healing and wholeness so that they know that and feel that in every fiber of their being. God, we pray that not only would they be brought to this safe place that The Wellhouse is, but also that they would be brought to knowing You as their Savior and Lord. In Jesus’ name, we come against every lie that the enemy of their souls has convinced them is truth. We declare truth – that nothing they have suffered and endured can separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus. We declare they are women of worth and value! We declare that they are precious in God’s sight! We declare that He has a good plan for them, to prosper them and not to harm them! We declare that they are not aliens and strangers, but are daughters and joint-heirs of the King, Beloved of the Bridegroom, sisters with every fellow believer.

Lord, we pray for an end to sex trafficking in this city, and for an end to sexual exploitation of any kind. That means, we also pray for the men and women who are the traffickers, that they would be set free from a life of destruction and rescued by the Great Redeemer. Lord, we thank You that even for them, once they respond to Your call to repent, that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. That is a very hard thing for us to pray, God, but Your arm is not too short that it cannot save even those.

Because there is the verse about the law of the Spirit of life and the law of sin and death, I wanted to take a moment to pray about justice in all of this. You are the God of justice, and Romans 8:33 says that You are the God who justifies. What You’ve been teaching me is that man’s justice does not always line up with Your justice. It is a more perfect but less understood justice. We pray that Your righteous justice would be fully accomplished on behalf of the ladies of The Wellhouse.

Finally, we pray for Tajuan, for Carolyn, and the rest of the staff at The Wellhouse. Lord, help them to stay at Your feet, keeping their eyes on You even as they fight for these women and all the other victims in our society. We know that God is for them and what they are doing in our city, and so we declare that no weapon fashioned against them will prosper. They wrestle with very strong forces, dragging things of darkness into the light, and so we pray for Your supernatural protection over each one of them and over everything that concerns them. We pray that even with the most heart-breaking cases, they would live and love and serve in the light of Eternity, knowing that these present sufferings are not to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to them (vs. 18). Give them great grace and strength, and cause them to put on the full armor of God each day so that having done all, they can stand firm against the devil’s schemes (from Eph. 6) as those who don’t just survive, but overwhelmingly conquer (vs. 37) through You.

The King’s Home – Non-Profits Summer Prayer Journey

Praise the Lord for the incredible weekend at the Bartow Arena and the Festival of Hope! I wasn’t able to attend, sadly, but from what I have heard, read, and seen (I watched some of it on their streaming page), it was an amazing weekend lifting up the name of Jesus, and many lives were changed for eternity as a result! Praise God! THAT is exactly why we do what we do. It’s why we pray, why we serve, why we live – to lift up the name of Jesus Christ, advancing His kingdom and changing lives and changing our city for Christ! Hallelujah!!! He is worthy!!!!

This week, we are praying for the King’s Home, which is made up of the King’s Ranch and Hannah Homes. The ministry was established in 1971. Their purpose as stated on their website is “to serve Christ by serving youth, women, and mothers with children who are at-risk.” They accomplish this purpose by being a home to those who are seeking refuge, hope, and help from abuse, neglect, abandonment, homelessness, and other difficult and impoverished conditions and circumstances. The King’s Home has 22 residential group homes on 6 campuses in 4 counties. Their slogan is “Where Hope Lives”. Lew Burdette is the president.

Psalms 33:18-22 – “18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,on those who hope for His lovingkindness,
19 To deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name. 22 Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us,
according as we have hoped in You.”

Heavenly Father, You are good and gracious. Your compassion never fails. You see every impossible circumstance. You bear every grief. You collect every tear and keep a record of them. (Ps. 56:8) We can trust You with our hurts, our fears, our pasts, and our futures. We can trust You with our families, even if they seem broken beyond repair.

We pray for the youth, women, and children who are being served through The King’s Home to know You as their Deliverer and Savior. To know that You are the One who sustained them through hard circumstances of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or poverty; You are the One who rescued them. We pray that You would help them learn how to trust You. Heal their hearts and minds by Your love and grace. Lord, be their help and their shield.

I am thinking especially of the youth and the children in this ministry who are just beginning their school year, and I pray that You would be their shield from all the things they will encounter that could cause triggers to their trauma, or create more pain. While You can use every situation for their good by showing them how to trust You in those situations, we also ask that You would shield them from the attempts of the evil one to take advantage of those situations in their lives. We come against the lies of the enemy that would tell them they’re broken, different, or without hope. We speak truth over them that You will heal them and reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth. (Jer. 33:6) We speak the truth over them that You have good plans for their lives, to give them a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11) We speak the truth over them that You will satisfy their desires. (Ps. 145:16)

We also pray for Lew Burdette and the staff of The King’s Home. You promise to keep Your eye on those who fear You and hope in You. Give them grace to walk in humility before You all of their days. We pray that as they minister to these children and women, they would be conduits of Your compassion, grace, and mercy. We thank You for the ways You have blessed this ministry over the years, and we ask that You would continue to provide for them and increase their capacity to answer the call You have put on their lives. For every decision and every need, help them to wait on You, trusting You to be their help for every question and every need. Lord, they see so many heart-breaking situations and circumstances. They are continually ministering to individuals who are carrying around tremendous heartbreak and grief, and that is very weighty. We pray that You would cause them to rejoice in You because they trust in Your holy name. May the joy of the Lord be their strength to accomplish all that You have called them to, for Your glory. Amen.

Non-Profits Summer Prayer Journey – Festival of Hope

Unless your head has been buried in the sand, you know that a huge evangelistic outreach event is happening this weekend. The Greater Birmingham Festival of Hope is being conducted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Franklin Graham has been speaking at these events since 1989, following in the footsteps of his father and his crusades. Each night will feature music by well-known artists and a Gospel presentation by Franklin Graham. Several church and ministry leaders have been working with the BGEA people for over a year to make this event happen The free event will be held at Bartow Arena tonight, tomorrow night, and Sunday night. Visit www.greaterbirminghamfestival.org for more details.

Phil. 2:1-11 – 1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Lord God, we humbly and gladly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the only begotten Son of God, the very Word of God who existed before time with the Father. Words cannot express our awe and our gratitude for His obedience, humility, and love which He displayed when He laid aside everything that was rightfully His to become like us and to die for us. We love You, Lord, and we praise Your great name.

Father, our fallen nature makes it so easy to get excited for big events like this festival for all the wrong reasons – reasons that are rooted in pride and selfish interests. We pray that You would rid every leader, planner, employee, and volunteer involved in this festival of those sinful motives. Cause their eyes to be fixed on You. Thank You that through this planning process, the men who have been part of the leadership planning team have sought Your will at every step, even when it could have cost a great deal. We thank You that this event has already been bathed in prayer at every step. We pray that You would honor the intentions of their heart to make this event one that would glorify Christ and further the Gospel in the Greater Birmingham area.

We pray for Your divine protection over every single person who will be involved and/or attending the festival this weekend. We ask that You would not allow the enemy to hinder even one person from getting there. If there are some who plan to be in attendance in order to cause disruption or even harm of some kind, we ask that You would instead set them free from darkness and bring them into Your kingdom of Light through the event this weekend.

We pray for the continued and increasing fellowship of the Spirit among the leadership and among all those who come bearing the name of Christ. Cause us all to be of the same mind, maintaing the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose of magnifying You and bringing lost people to You. Cause every Christian there, from the leaders, the planners, the volunteers to the attendees, to humbly regard others before ourselves. And Lord, even beyond this weekend, cause this event to change our mindsets and perspectives. Lord, compel and convict Your Church in Birmingham to be like Christ – being so radically in love for the lost that we lay aside every right and privilege we have in order to become obedient to whatever You call us to do, to lay down our politics, our dogma, our traditions, our comforts, even our very lives for the Gospel, for the Kingdom of God, for Jesus. God, we pray that our city would never be the same, and that Your Church in this city would never be the same after this weekend.

We pray that in the Greater Birmingham area, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. In the name of Jesus and for His glory we pray all of this. Amen.

Non-profits Summer Prayer Journey – First Priority of Alabama

We begin our final month of this summer prayer journey. I was excited when Kevin Moore first told me about it, but as I keep telling you, it has been so much richer and perspective-altering than I could have imagined. See the calendar, here, for which ministries are coming up next.

This week, we are praying for First Priority of Alabama. You can visit their website or find them on Facebook. They have a ton of photos on their Facebook page of the different schools they minister in. It touched my heart to see so many kids engaged with the opportunity to experience the Gospel, and to see other students leading their peers in that endeavor. It is also great timing that we’re praying for them now, as August is FP Month, which is a month filled with FP trainings, prayer gatherings, commissioning of students, speaking engagement in churches, and much more. They have several ways you can be involved in  FP month listed on this page.

First Priority was founded in 1990, with the vision of seeing the hope of Christ in every student. A city-wide church vision, First Priority provides a comprehensive plan of action for churches, students, parents, and community leaders to help create unity, resources, mentoring, and strategy within the city, communities, and on campuses to reach and disciple a generation with the love and message of Jesus Christ. Last school year, they saw over 520 decisions for Christ and over 13,000 students who participated in First Priority and FPKids. You can find First Priority on the campuses of many local middle and high schools being initiated and led by students. Greg Davis, host of Priority Talk radio on WXJC 850 am and 92.5 fm, is the president of this organization.

I Timothy 4:10-12 – “10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 11 Prescribe and teach these things. 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”

Heavenly Father, You are not a god made of wood, stone, clay, or precious metals. You are the true and living God, who hears with Your ears, sees with Your hands, and whose heart beats with compassion and love for Your Creation. Not only are You the God of all Creation, but You are also the God of our salvation. The story of salvation is not just a legend, but so real that it has the power to transform lives, heal broken hearts, and set captives free. We give You all glory and honor, praise and thanksgiving for being the Real, Living God Who Saves. Praise You, Lord God Almighty!

No one would argue that we live in a dark culture, and in recent weeks, we’ve seen that it’s even darker than we imagined in some ways. Our children and young people face so many traps, snares, deceit, and evil that we would never have even considered having to deal with when we were their ages. Only the Light of the Gospel can counter the growing tide of evil, and it must shine from within them, not just around them. We pray that no matter the life story, no matter the background, no matter the heartache and grief and fear and pain, step in and save this generation, O God. Be Father to the fatherless. Be Hope to the hopeless. Be Life to the dying. Be Light against the darkness. Be Rescuer to the abused. Be Comforter to the hurting. Be Love to the angry and hateful. Be Healer to the broken. Be Lord and Savior to all of them.

We pray that First Priority’s vision of the hope of Christ in every student would become a reality. That is not too big a vision for You to accomplish, Lord. Provide the resources this ministry needs to accomplish such an awesome vision. Raise up godly volunteers to mentor the students. Raise up churches to partner with this ministry and to engage in the lives of students who may never set foot in their church. Give them favor with school officials to continue meeting on campuses. We pray for Greg Davis and the leadership of First Priority. Give them wisdom and the discernment to know how You are leading them to go, and give them the courage and ability to follow. We also pray for a spirit of unity among the leadership and among the students who are participating. Give them strength to labor and strive for the Gospel and for the hearts of the students.

We also pray for the student leadership in each school who have chosen to speak out for the Gospel and to live for Christ. We pray that they would be bold for the Gospel, but in a spirit of humility. Give them the strength to be faithful and consistent in what they say, how they act, the values they display, and how the handle temptation in order to show themselves as an example of those who believe. Give them the freedom not to be perfect, but to be forgiven. Let their faith and testimony not be about works of righteousness that they’ve done, but about Your mercy to save us and wash us and fill us with Your Spirit. (from Titus 3:5) At the same time, we also pray that they would live and walk as God’s workmanship, created in Christ for good works, which God prepared for them beforehand. (from Eph. 2:10)

Lord, by Your grace and mercy, and by the power of the Gospel, let us see this generation redeemed and set free in Christ. Continue to enable First Priority to partner with You, and provide churches and community leaders to partner with them. We ask all of this for Your honor and glory. Amen.