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:
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.
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.
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.
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!