Praying for the Birmingham Prayer Furnace

I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity to pray for the Birmingham Prayer Furnace ever since we started praying through the nonprofits of the metro-B’ham area. I met Paul, the director, several years ago while participating in a 24/7 prayer room at a Mission America conference that was here in Birmingham. That event, with people from all over the city, the state, and even the nation, gathering together in a room to pray together with such unity, was tremendously impactful to me. For a while after that, I was able to attend their weekly Awaken services that meet on Tuesday nights. Getting to soak in worship and prayer every week like that was a huge blessing. I love this ministry and how it’s raising up young people to be on fire for Jesus, with an understanding of biblical justice and reconciliation and the priority that prayer is to all of it.

The Birmingham Prayer Furnace history is quite fascinating, and too long to include in detail here. You’ll have to check it out on their website. I can tell you that they launched on Sept. 22, 2006. (Again, God’s Sovereign timing at work over when we pray for each of these ministries, as we “just so happen” to be praying for them right here close to their anniversary! Praise the Lord!!) It was also Rosh Hashanah when they began. In June 2007, Paul established Kingdom Forerunners as an official nonprofit organization. Today, Kingdom Forerunners provides leadership to the Birmingham Prayer Furnace, the Alabama Campus Prayer Network, and Redigging the Wells, which is  a prayer and justice initiative. Their purpose is to prepare this generation for the leadership of Jesus by calling us to watch and pray, work for biblical justice, and to preach God’s Kingdom. The desire to accomplish this through facilitating a 24/7 regional network of prayer and a 24/7 city-wide worship and prayer hub in the city of Birmingham. I don’t know about you, but I get excited thinking such a thing could exist like that for this city. Currently, they offer many ways to get plugged in, which you can find out about on their website.

We’re going to pray out of a passage that is one of my favorites, II Chronicles 20:15-17:
15 and he said, “Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you.”

Lord God, we praise You for being the Victorious Warrior who is mighty in battle. You promised this to Your chosen nation of Israel, and You are faithful to Your promises. As our heavenly Father, who has chosen to adopt us as sons and daughters, we can still count on You to fight for us and to be with us. Thank You, Lord!

We lift up the Birmingham Prayer Furnace to You, Lord. Thank You for their heart for You and for the desire You have given them to see our city bathed in continuous praise and worship to the One True God. Paul and Lucy Hughes have been tireless in pursuing the vision and passion You have placed in their hearts. They have stood against overwhelming forces of darkness and have seen You fight for them and for our city. We pray that You would continue to encourage their hearts and cause them and all those who join them in their ministry that the battle belongs to You. Give them strength to stand and face the enemy, and give them wisdom and discernment to look and wait on You to fight Your battles. We pray that as they wait on You, You would cause them to rise up with wings like eagles, to run and not grow weary, and to walk and not faint. (Is. 40:31)

We also pray for the young people, the college kids, who are the core group that the BPF serves, teaches, and equips. They are coming of age in a very challenging culture. Father, we pray that You would keep them from the snares of the evil one. Guard their hearts to know the truth by staying engaged with Your Word. Teach them to stand firm against the devil, equipped with the armor of God, to resist and stand firm in the evil day. (Eph. 6:11,13) Raise up this generation to carry Your truth, Your justice, Your grace, mercy and love, in short, Your Gospel, into the very heart of every stronghold in this city and nation. Let them stand and see the salvation of the Lord on their behalf.

Father, we thank You for the many, many prayer warriors that You have raised up all over the metro-B’ham area. You are doing a new thing, and we praise You for it. We pray that the spirit of unity would continue to unite these various intercessors and prayer ministries in the spirit of humility with the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3) Together, may we see Your kingdom come and Your will be done in Birmingham as it already is in Heaven. Amen!

Praying for Safe Harbor

Even though our summer prayer journey of nonprofits in Birmingham is over, there are still so many great ministries out there that we want to continue “visiting” them and praying for them here. This week, we’re visiting Safe Harbor. As their website states, Safe Harbor is “dedicated to educating communities and restoring families who have youth involved in rebellious behaviors.” It was founded in 1998 by parents who were dealing with the stress, concern, and pain caused by the poor personal choices their own adolescent children. Safe Harbor doesn’t just counsel teens; they work with the whole family, recognizing that the adolescent’s choices affect everyone in the home. Sean Hannon is the executive director.

I feel like we’ve used this same passage before, but I really felt the Lord leading me to this passage to pray out of for Safe Harbor and the families they serve.

Romans 8:37-39 – 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 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.

Heavenly Father, You are the glorious One who reigns over all created things. You have dominion over all. When You chose us before the beginning of the world, You determined that no one and no thing could keep us from You. By Your own hand, You have saved us and kept us for Yourself. Yet, You do not do it with an iron fist and hardness of heart. You do it with a heart of compassion, mercy, long-suffering, grace, forgiveness, and faithfulness. Your love is constant, unchanging, unfailing, unfathomable.

We lift up the teenagers who are being served through Safe Harbor. The enemy would do everything in his power to convince them that You do not love them and that You aren’t even real. We pray that the truth would prevail in their hearts over all the lies of the evil one. The devil would also convince them that they have messed up too much, made too many mistakes, for You to ever want them. We thank You that that is also not the truth, and we pray that they would fully realize that truly nothing at all can separate them from Your love for them, because Your love has never been based on ourselves or on our behavior. Your love has always been based on the fact that You choose to love us, and You will not change Your mind. Hallelujah! Father, we pray that You would cast down every thought and imagination, every stronghold in their minds, that is attempting to keep them deceived and without hope.

We also pray for the parents and the siblings of these teenagers who are hurting, confused, and perhaps even feeling like they’ve failed – and maybe some of them have. Thank You, Lord, that failure is not forever. Failure is a chance to start over with more knowledge and insight than we had the first time we tried. We pray that these parents would also know the truth that nothing separates them from Your love, and that nothing separates their children from Your love. Give them strength to love their wayward children with Your love. Give them wisdom to know what that looks like and how to live it out in practical ways. Encourage them. Strengthen them with power through Your Spirit in their inner being, so that Christ may dwell in them. (Eph. 3:16-17)

You established families. Ephesians 3:15 tells us that every family gets its name from You. It is Your will for them to stay intact and prosper and to be a picture of righteous alignment, and yet we see increasingly that they don’t turn out that way at all. We pray that You would use the ministry of Safe Harbor to help reverse that trend in Birmingham, Alabama. Raise up the mentors and encouragers that work with the families in their Refuge program. Provide the funds they need to continue their work and to expand as needed. Protect their hearts as they see and hear difficult stories and situations, and as not every family walks out of there with a happy ending. Strengthen them to love these families as You love them. Give them continued wisdom, insight, discernment and knowledge into how best to help the teenagers and families that come to them. We also pray for unity among the leadership, the staff, and the volunteers at Safe Harbor. Give them grace toward more unity, more praying together, more of the things that expand their impact for Your kingdom and Your purposes in a supernatural capacity.

We specifically pray for their executive director Sean Hannon as he seeks You and submits to Your will for this ministry. Protect him and his own family as they stand in the gap for others. Give him grace to trust You to fight the battles for him and the ministry, and for all the families that come through there, knowing that You are the Victorious Warrior and through You we are more than conquerors. Give him courage to think God-sized ideas and plans that You give him, and give him patience and faith to watch Your plan unfold in Your perfect timing. Help him keep his eyes on You no matter what.

Thank You for You Word, and thank You for letting it fuel our prayers. Amen.