Praying for our Leaders: 2016 Municipal Elections

Last Friday was our final stop in our 2016 Summer Prayer Journey. But wait! There’s more! On Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7pm, New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting a city-wide prayer rally in which East Lake and the ministries we’ve been praying for will be the focus. Mission Birmingham will be facilitating the evening.

This past Tuesday, many of the municipalities we’ve prayed for had elections for those who will be leading their cities. I don’t have info on all of the 90-something cities we’ve prayed for, but of those I do have, I see a mix of incumbents, new mayors, and run-offs, and lots of new and returning council members in various cities. I will eventually be updating each blog post with the new mayors information. At the end of this post, you’ll see a list of municipalities that I don’t have info for as of yet. If you do, please share it with me so that I can update those posts. Thanks!

I Timothy 1: 1-8 – 1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

In Your Sovereignty, Lord, You have appointed men and women to lead our local governments in the metro-B’ham area over the course of the next couple of years. We thank You for the leaders You have chosen for this time, even if some of them aren’t the ones we voted for. You are in control and You are the one who raises up kings and brings them down again to accomplish Your plans and purposes.

We pray for these men and women who will be leading our cities and hometowns to be wise and humble servant-leaders who are even-tempered, not willful or greedy, temperate. We pray that they would be men and women who love what is good, sensible, just, and self-controlled. (from Titus 1:7,8) Let them lead with integrity and honor. We pray that their homes would be places of love and peace. Protect these leaders and their families from every spiritual attack and from every demonic spirit that stands against them and against the cities they serve. We pray for the salvation of every mayor and every council person in the metro-Birmingham area.

As the citizens of these cities, I pray that we would be faithful to support our leaders through our prayers, as You have commanded us. Before we complain, prompt us to pray. Our politics have become a source of such hate, anger, and ungodly behavior. Forgive us, and cause us to turn from those habits and toward the habit of praying for our leaders. You promise in the passage in I Timothy that when we pray for them, it will lead to tranquil, quiet lives in godliness and dignity. That’s what we long for. Lord, we pray for cities that would experience Your kingdom and Your will in our midst as it is in Heaven. I pray that we would pray without “wrath and dissension”.

I also want to specifically lift up those who are facing run-off elections. Running in an election and going through the campaigning process has got to be an exhausting process. I would imagine it can be rather discouraging to realize that you have two more months of it ahead of you. We lift up those men and women who are facing that prospect this week. We pray that they would find their rest in You. Cause them to wait on You as they prepare for their run-offs, so that can then mount up with wings like eagles, they can run and not grow weary, they can walk and not faint. Cause them to see Your hand of grace and mercy on them and their families in the process.

We pray all this to You, praising You because You are worthy of all praise, and because You are in control. Amen.

I would love to read your prayers, and come into agreement with you, in the comments as you pray for the mayor of your specific city.

 

 

 

Praying for The Way Community Church

Happy Friday! For a lot of students and teachers, this was the first full week of school. I work for an after-school program, and so I witness just a fraction of the craziness that the first week can be a lot of times. Before we begin praying for our non-profit of the week, will you take a minute to pray for the students, teachers, and staff in the schools in your area? Pray for their peace, for time management, for wisdom, and for God to be evident in every classroom.

This week we are praying for a new church plant called The Way Community Church, pastored by Danny Brister. The church plant hasn’t launched just yet, and I think it’s a wonderful privilege and opportunity to pray for a brand-new part of the Church in Birmingham.

Acts 2:37-47 – “37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

Lord God, You birthed Your Church through a miraculous move of Your Holy Spirit, made possible by the shed blood of Your Son and His resurrection. You chose to use the Church to be agents of Your kingdom and to bring many souls into a relationship with their Creator and Redeemer. You have equipped it with the fullness of Christ, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the riches of His Word – everything we need for life and godliness according to His divine power (2 Peter 1:3).

Forgive us, Lord, for replacing those gifts with the traditions of man and worldly thinking. Purify our hearts and our minds. We love You; help us love You more. We need You; make us see how much more we need You. Convict us and lead us to repentance for the ways we have sinned against You. Thank You for redeeming us and calling us by Your name. Thank You for forgiving us of our sins – for Your grace that covers all our sin and restores us.

We pray for Pastor Danny Brister to be a man ever more devoted to You. Protect him and his family from every effort of the enemy to thwart him from what You have called him to do. We thank You, Father, that Your Word says in Job 42:2 that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. We pray that You would shepherd him as he shepherds Your flock that You entrust to him.

We pray for The Way Community Church to be a church that is filled with and functions by the Holy Spirit. We pray that every person who comes to this church would feel a sense of awe. Let this local body be devoted to Your Word, to fellowship, and to prayer. Let it be a place where believers bear one another’s burdens and are able to give mutual support and care for one another. Empower this church to be a sign to the community of Your awesome power, amazing grace, unconditional love, and uncompromising holiness. Let this church shine Your light and Your glory for the whole East Lake community, and even all of Birmingham, to see and to be drawn to it. Use them to lift high the name of Jesus. Use The Way Community Church to bring many into Your Kingdom. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

I have to admit, I’m not sure I’ve ever prayed specifically for a church plant in my own city before. Have you? What else would you pray for? Leave a comment!

 

Praying for Serving You and WorkFaith Birmingham

Today we are getting to pray for two for the price of one! The two ministries share a common office space for their headquarters. WorkFaith Birmingham, led by Walvid King, is a Christ-centered initiative designed to help churches join together to address urgent physical and spiritual poverty in the urban areas of Birmingham. We were able to pray for this ministry last summer as well. You can find that post here.

Serving You, led by John Gibson, has recently moved from Trussville to the East Lake area. Their purpose is to be a ministry arm to area churches and corporations using each person’s spiritual gifting to reach a lost and hurting world. Their website has a page that lists specific ways you can pray for their ministry.

2 Thess. 3:3-13 – 3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4 We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.
6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

Dear Lord, thank You for being so faithful to us even when we are unfaithful. In a world that is full of uncertainty, we can rest in Your unfailing promises. You do protect us from the evil one, so that even when storms come, we can hold fast to the Anchor of our hope.

We also thank You for work. We were created to work, and even before sin entered the world, Adam and Eve were told to work to take care of the Garden. Yet our sin nature acts as though work is something to be avoided, and our culture takes full advantage of that mindset, especially among young people. We pray that You would change their perspective to see the joy and satisfaction that can come with fulfilling that part of us that was created for work.

We pray that Your freedom would come for those who are trapped in the cycle of poverty and/or unemployment. We pray for provision that would reinforce their dignity as humans while also inspiring them to get a job. We pray for provision and training that would bring them to know You. Use the Church to be Your means of provision to those around us who are suffering and are in need. For those who are being proactive to find their way out of unemployment or poverty, we pray that You would provide strong mentors who would not only serve their felt needs, but who would also minister the Gospel to them.

We pray for Serving You and WorkFaith Birmingham and ask that You would supply all their needs to fulfill the calling You have put on each of them. For John and Walvid and their teams, we pray that You, Lord, would direct their hearts “into the love of God and the steadfastness of Christ” (v. 5) Please give them wisdom and discernment as they seek to lead their ministry by serving the people in the East Lake community. We pray that You would encourage them and strengthen them – uphold them with Your righteousness. We pray all this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Please join in by adding your prayers in the comments!

 

Praying for Abiding Hearts Home Care

I’m going to call the summer of 2016 The Summer of Rainbows. I have seen more rainbows this summer than I have in the previous 2-3 years. Not only beautiful, rainbows are also a powerful reminder of God’s covenantal love toward His children and a picture of His mercy  and grace. The bow is a war-bow, as in a bow-and-arrow. It is pointing into the heart of Heaven, reminding us that God has provided for our deepest need by sacrificing His own Son, and as Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” As this summer has been full of conflict and violence here and around the world, and as we head into the home stretch of the 2016 Election Season more fractured as a nation than ever before it seems, I do not believe the abundance of rainbows is an accident of nature. I believe the Lord is reminding us of His Sovereignty, His love, His faithfulness, His provision. That reminder is also a call to “walk in a manner worthy…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:1-3)

Today we are visiting and praying for Abiding Hearts Home Care, which was started by Randy and Courtney Johnson. From their website:
“We are a Christ-centered non-profit in home care ministry that provides living assistance, nursing and home maintenance care to the sick, elderly and widowed in our community for the purpose of sharing the love of Jesus. The care that we provide meets practical life needs and offers fellowship, respite, connection to resources, advocacy and peace for individuals and their families in the comfort of their homes.

The mission of Abiding Hearts Home Care is to come alongside supporting churches, individuals, organizations and other community advocates to serve people in our community in practical ways that will meet their physical, spiritual and everyday needs, enhance their joy and quality of life, and most importantly display God’s love for them.”

I highly recommend checking out their website directly. Everything I read was so encouraging and inspiring.

Matthew 25:31-36, 40 –31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 

40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”

James 1:27 – “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

Lord God, one day You will come in all Your glory and “make everything sad come untrue” (from The Jesus Storybook Bible. It’s awesome! Get it for your kids.) We so look forward to that day, and we are filled with awe and wonder that until that day comes, You have called us to advance Your kingdom here on Earth as it already is in Heaven. We rejoice in the hope that we have in You, even in the face of hard things. There is coming a day. You will make everything right. The old things shall pass away and all things shall become new. And we will see You ruling in Your power, Your justice, Your strength, Your majesty, Your holiness, Your glory. Hallelujah to the Lamb, who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!!!

We pray for Abiding Hearts Home Care ministry today as they answer the call You placed on all of us to care for those who are unable to care for themselves and to share the love of Christ with everyone around us. Keep their eyes fixed on You, the Author and Perfecter of their faith, and keep them connected to You as their Vine, so that they have the fruit of the Spirit to share with all those that they serve. We pray that You would protect them from the fiery arrows of Satan and from the distractions all around us. Please raise up Your provision to meet every need they have as they meet the needs of their community.

We pray for the Church to also respond to this call to be Your hands and feet to those who need You most. Do not let us be lukewarm and complacent in our safe pews and safe routines. Reorient our perspective so that our eyes are fixed on You, and we choose to step out on the water. Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe. (Rom. 1:16) Wash us with the water of the Word so that we can be blameless and undefiled by the world in order to be Your ready Bride and to bring You glory as we serve You. Use us to advance Your kingdom for Your name’s sake, Lord Jesus. You are worthy of our lives, our strength, our time, our resources, our everything. Amen.