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!