Praying for the Lovelady Center

This ministry has a special place in my heart. Not only do I love the fact that they help women build their lives in Christ, but I also love their heart for prayer and worship. We also had the privilege of praying for them last summer. After our prayer time, their morning devotional time was just getting underway, which was started with worship music and singing. Seeing around 200 women, who have come out of difficult circumstances, singing “I am Redeemed”, moved me to tears. It was also my testimony. God not only redeemed my life from sin through His Son, but He is also redeeming my story from past sexual abuse.  You can see some videos on their Facebook page of their worship time. In one of those videos, they’re singing to “I am Redeemed”! Here is where we prayed for them on the blog last year.

The Lovelady Center‘s purpose is to help women build a strong positive foundation in Christ. Their mission statement is empowering women through faith-based initiatives so they can return to society as well-equipped women of God. We do this by providing a safe, structured, and loving environment.

Galatians 5:13-25 – 13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to not only seal us in Christ as Your possession (Eph. 1:13), but to also encourage us, equip us, and empower us to live the life You have called us to live. I think how often of how I would love to have been on earth when Jesus was physically here, but He said it was better for us to have Him leave so that He could send Your Holy Spirit. I think I often lose sight of how rich a treasure and blessing that He is. So thank You, Father, for sending us the Holy Spirit.

We lift up all the lovely ladies of the Lovelady Center to You, Father. You have called them to freedom. Hallelujah! We pray that You would bind up the wounds of their past and bring them to the place where they can lay down their heavy chains, knowing You have wiped away every stain by the blood of Jesus Christ. (Yes, I am totally borrowing some of the words from the song I mentioned above.) You have already won the battle for them. We pray that they would learn how to walk in that victory by the power of the Holy Spirit. Give these ladies the courage and strength to daily and moment-by-moment die to their flesh and their old way of living. Empower them to choose to walk by Your Spirit into the life You have for them. We pray that these ladies would become like Your garden, watered by the Word of God, and bearing all the fruit of the Spirit.

We also pray for the leadership, staff, and volunteers at The Lovelady Center. Fill them with Your Spirit, and let their lives be full of the fruit of the Spirit. We pray that they would especially bear the fruit of love abundantly in their lives as they serve the ladies and children in their ministry. Give them the capacity to carry Your light into the dark places these ladies come from so that they can be used by You to help rescue, redeem, and restore. We are so grateful for the lives that have already been transformed through this ministry, and we give You, Lord God, all the praise and glory for Your redeeming work. We pray that You would continue to supply The Lovelady Center with all they need according to Your riches in glory. (Phil. 4:19).  Amen.

How is the Lord leading you to pray today? Have you had an opportunity to visit The Lovelady Center? I would love to hear about your experience with them!

Praying for Oak Tree Ministries and Marks Village

This week we are praying for Oak Tree Ministries. Founded in March 2013, OTM labors with the people of Marks Village in fulfillment of God’s promise to raise up for Himself oak trees of righteousness for the display of His splendor. They do this by focusing on Reconciliation – people to God and people to people, Relief for crisis issues and chronic issues, Rehabilitation of people and community, and Relationships, which is at the foundation of everything they do. Oak Tree Ministries is about people, building relationships with them so that they can have a relationship with God through the power of the Gospel and then discipling them in their walk with God. Alex Leath is the director of Oak Tree Ministries. You can find out more about this great ministry by checking our their website.

Isaiah 61 – 1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; 2 to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, 3 to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

4 Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations; and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. 5 Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, and foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers. 6 But you will be called the priests of the LORD; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs.

8 For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; and I will faithfully give them their recompense and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Then their offspring will be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them will recognize them because they are the offspring whom the LORD has blessed.

10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the LORD GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

Lord God, You alone are worthy of our praise. You are faithful and true. You cause all things to work according to Your perfect will. You make an everlasting covenant with those who are called by Your name. Your plans for us are always for our good and Your glory. You will not let injustice reign nor the ungodly go unpunished. You are a good God and a good Father. You are our source of hope and strength no matter what happens to us or in the world around us. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!!!

We pray for the community of Marks Village, while giving thanks for the work You have done over the years there. Lord, You know how this community has struggled in the face of poverty and crime. Yet, You have not left them to be abandoned to those struggles. You have raised up people and ministries, equipped with the power of the Gospel, to bring about restoration for lives and for the community as a whole. We pray that You would bind up the broken-hearted, and declare freedom to the captives of poverty, violence, drugs, politics, and hate. Let Your beauty rise from the ashes of desolation. Reverse shame and poverty with honor and Your provision. We pray that Your Holy Spirit would dwell in the midst of this neighborhood, and that You would deliver people from the strongholds of division, hate, poverty, violence, that have been rooted there for so long.

This neighborhood was originally built in the early 1950s as a “whites-only” development. So, Lord, we confess and agree that segregation and the oppression of the black people of this city was unjust and sinful. We plead the blood of Jesus Christ over this community and in Jesus’ name, we uproot those foundations of hate and bigotry. We pray that You would give them recompense through the eternal covenant we have through the Gospel. We declare this community will be seen as one that is blessed by the Lord.

We lift up Oak Tree Ministries to You, Father, and thank You for the calling You have put on them to be Your Kingdom agents of change in this community. We pray that You would continue to pour out Your anointing on them to declare Your favor and Your freedom to the people of Marks Village. We pray that You would provide the resources they need to serve this community and to proclaim the Gospel. We pray that You would continue to guide Alex Leath, and give him wisdom and discernment as he and his team serve Marks Village. We often talk about an anointing as if it’s always great and exciting. Jesus used these very words from Isaiah 61:1 to announce Himself in the synagogue, and we see from His life that an anointing is hard, heavy, and requires one lays down one’s life for it. So we pray that You would strengthen the people of Oak Tree Ministries, as they carry this anointing and all of the challenges it brings with it. We pray that like Jesus, they would abide in You for their strength and joy, and that through You they would maintain their Kingdom perspective for Marks Village.

Thank You for hearing our prayers. Thank for Your anointing and for the strength to carry it. Amen.

Summer Prayer Journey: Praying for Banks Academy

This week we are praying for Banks Academy, which is a private Christian high school which opened in August of last year in Eastlake. As they enter their second year of operation, they are welcoming 9th and 10th grade students. A grade will be added each year until all four high school grades are established. Students who meet the qualifications to enroll at Banks Academy are offered scholarships to help cover the cost of tuition. Surrounded by public schools who are struggling with low test scores and high drop-out rates, parents in the East Lake and surrounding communities now have a choice when it comes to their children’s high school education. The school is named after the original Banks High School, which also started with just a 9th grade class in 1957, but went on to become a pillar of the community and a school recognized on a national level because of its academics and athletics. Dr. Kathy King is the school’s principal.

From their website:
Our school provides:
A safe and secure school building and environment.
A group of teachers committed to getting students caught up to their grade level.
A vision for the future in which they are taught to be self sufficient.
A quality education that is based on merit and not on pushing them through the system.
A cutting edge school in which successful strategies of learning are implemented.
A Christ centered setting in which the authority of our lives is Jesus Christ and the written word of God.

Deut. 6: 4-9, 20-25 – 4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

20 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the LORD our God commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; 23 He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’ 24 So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. 25 It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.

Lord God, there is no god like You! There is no god like You in the earth or in the heavens. You keep covenants and show mercy to those who walk before You with all of their hearts. (from I Kings 8:23) You are never-changing. You are the same God who rescued Your people from Egypt, and who rescued Your people from sin and death at the cross. Hallelujah! Let Your deeds and the wonders of Your love be proclaimed from generation to generation!

Father, children today are not taught to remember You. We confess that somewhere along the way, we became too comfortable and we forgot You. As a result, our young people are growing up in a culture of fear, violence, anger, and immorality. Forgive us, Lord God, and rescue this generation! Cause us to be diligent to teach our children about You. Turn the hearts of this generation to You, Lord. Do not let the enemy continue to harm them and destroy them. Let the Way, the Truth, and the Life be made know to them.

We pray for Banks Academy as they gear up for their second school year. Equip Dr. King and her staff with the wisdom, discernment, strength, and the fruit of the Spirit as they impart knowledge and truth into their students. We pray that every young person who comes to Banks Academy would come to know You as their personal Savior and Lord, and in so doing, let it change their lives, their families, and their community for their good and for Your glory. By the time they’re reached high school age and can attend Banks Academy, a lot of these kids have already seen and experienced a lot of harsh realities. We pray that You would empower the teachers and staff to continually speak and demonstrate the love of Christ to each student. Let generational strongholds be torn down in Jesus’ name. Let wounded and hurting hearts find peace and healing through the power of the Gospel as it is lived out through the staff at Banks Academy.

We also pray that You would meet the practical needs this ministry has going into the new school year. We pray for more donors so that they can continue offering scholarships to their students. We pray that You would provide physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual protection for Dr. King and her staff, for the students, and for the board members of Banks Academy. Let the staff keep their eyes fixed on You, committed to Your Word and to prayer. We pray that Banks Academy would be a school that fears the Lord. Amen.

Feel free to add your prayers or comments below. I love hearing from those who are joining us in prayer!

 

NSPJ: Praying for East Lake Initiative

I hope you all had a great Independence Day celebration last weekend! I enjoyed a quiet celebration at home with my family, while reflecting on all the reasons I have to be thankful for our country and considering my duty as a Christian in this nation to be faithful to pray for it and for its leaders, even if – and perhaps especially when – I don’t agree with them.

This week our Nonprofit Summer Prayer Journey (NSPJ) is taking us to East 59 Vintage and Cafe where we are praying for East Lake Initiative. ELI partners to strategically provide holistic community development within the greater East Lake area. Through the intentional collaboration of the business community, local governments, educational institutions, and churches, ELI seeks to cultivate strategic relationships for the sake of community transformation in East Lake. Pam Bates is the executive director. Paige Jordan is the director of development. Their theme verse is Jeremiah 29:7 – “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for it is in its welfare that you will find your welfare.”

We are praying together out of Psalm 33, which can be divided into four sections:

Thanksgiving
1 Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright.
2 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.
3 Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.
4 For the word of the LORD is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.

Worship
6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
10 The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. 

Deliverance
13 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men;
14 From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works.
16 The king is not saved by a mighty army; a warrior is not delivered by great strength.
17 A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.

Dependence
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, 0n 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.

Lord God of Heaven and Earth, the earth is Your footstool. You reign omnipotent above the circle of the earth. Not even the highest heavens can contain Your glory, Your majesty, or Your power. The foundations of Your throne, righteousness and justice, are established forever. Even with the chaos going on around the world, those foundations will not and cannot be shaken. Your counsel stands forever.

With the headlines this week, it is hard to feel anything besides fear, grief, and anger. Yet, we choose to feel gratitude and to give You thanks for all that You have done and for all that You promise to do in our lives and in the East Lake community. We are so grateful that You are raising up Your people to come together and to transform this community so that it becomes all that You have ordained it to be.

We pray that You would deliver this community and our nation from the cycle of poverty, crime, violence, and injustice. Deliver families out of divorce, abuse, sickness, lack of knowledge, and every other dysfunction the enemy embroils us in. Deliver the Church from complacency and fear. Deliver the young men in the East Lake community from anger and fear that is masked as anger. Deliver the young women from the mindset of the culture, which is in our whole nation, that values them only for their bodies. Deliver these precious people from the rhetoric which breeds more fear, poverty, and dependence on the wrong things. Lord, these are only the obvious things. You know our hearts better than we do. You alone know what has ensnared us, and You alone are the One who will deliver us. Marches, protests, police forces, anti-police movements, grassroots efforts, government, religion, …none of these will deliver us or our communities. It is only the power of the Gospel that can save us and transform us. May the power of the Gospel be poured out on the community of East Lake, and on our nation.

We pray for East Lake Initiative to seek You first so that all that they have need of will be added to them. (Matt. 6:33) Give them supernatural gifts of grace, humility, discernment, and wisdom as they seek to minister to a community that is affected by the developments in our nation this week. In Jesus’ name, we declare that no weapon fashioned against ELI or against the community they serve will stand. We pray for Pam Bates and Paige Jordan and their team to be covered under Your wings, Lord God. Please go before them to make their paths straight, and stand behind them as their rear guard. Give them Your peace which passes all understanding, and let that peace be imparted to everyone they minister to.

We speak peace over Birmingham, and peace over East Lake. We also ask that You would manifest Your peace, grace, and wisdom in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and in Minnesota, and all over our nation. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!