Pray Where You Are

For the past two weeks, I’ve had to take my dad to the doctor. The trip requires going from Pelham to Oneonta (where he lives) to the doctor in Pell City, and then back again. It’s a 4 hour trip for me, most of which is off the interstate and on roads like Hwy 75 and Hwy 231, which wind through and around little pieces of some of the towns and cities we’ve prayed for through the blog.

I noticed signs for AltoonaOdenville, and Horse Pens 40, which is in Steele. We drove through part of Ashville. I know I shouldn’t be surprised to recognize these places as ones we’ve prayed for, since we’re praying for the whole metro-Birmingham area, but for some reason it made me happy. I felt connected to each of them. Before I started blogging here and praying for these towns and cities, I wouldn’t have thought twice about those signs or the town/cities represented by them. But now, I smiled at each one, thinking of some of the historical facts that have made them what they are today, and asking the Lord to hear and answer the prayers we’ve prayed for them. I’ve often said that you cannot pray for someone consistently without your heart getting connected to that person. I guess the same is true for a city or town.

Then, on the way home, I missed the turn from Hwy 75/Center Point Road and onto Sweeney Hollow Road. I didn’t notice it until I found myself in Center Point. At first, I was frustrated that I had missed the turn. It had been a long day with lots of driving, and I had just made it longer. But then I heard the Lord whisper to me the verse from Joshua 1:3 that says, “Every place on which your foot treads, I have given it to you.” I suddenly realized that Center Point was yet another city we’ve prayed for on the blog, and that perhaps the Lord was giving me the opportunity to pray AND “set my foot” (or the wheels of my vehicle) on this city and all the others we had seen and passed through in our trek to the doctor and back! For a prayer and map nerd like me, this was the COOLEST thought!!! I immediately started praying out loud for Center Point, and then touched on some of the others I had seen that day, and just like that, my frustration over a missed turn and a long day turned into joy as I got to seek God for the city – all of the cities.

So as you go about your day each day, ask the Lord to help you to be mindful to pray for the places He takes you. Your prayers DO make a difference! Claim those places for the kingdom!

God’s Sovereignty Over Oneonta, AL

May I start this post with a personal note and a word of encouragement? This past Saturday marked 3 years since my youngest brother took his own life. When you think about how you might handle a circumstance like that in your life, you think about how horrible and painful it would be. For me, the reality was 100 times worse and more devastating than anything I ever imagined.

At this 3 year mark, though, even though it is still very hard and sad, I can also see God’s amazing grace. As big as that loss is to me, God’s grace is greater. When I am feeling overwhelmed by the flood of grief, His grace carries me. He reminds me that He is ever present in my trouble. He is full of compassion. He understands my griefs and sorrows, and if Iwill be still and rest in Him, He will minister personal healing and peace to my heart.

So whatever you are facing today, I hope you will be encouraged to know that God passionately cares for where you are right now, and His grace IS amazing and sufficient for you. Cease striving against your pain and anguish and know that He is God over and through all of it.

Now on to praying for Oneonta! This is the last of our “O” cities.

Mayor Ross Norris

Located in Blount County

  • 35 miles NE of Birmingham
  • Nestled in the heart of Murphree’s Valley

Incorporated in 1891 (before Alabama was a state)

  • Originally known as a mining community because of a rich seam of iron ore discovered by John Hanley in 1817
  • Became the county seat of Blount County in 1897
  • Population went from its original 12 residents to 6,567 as of 2010

Hosts an annual “Covered Bridge Festival”

Has an abundance of places to worship, according to its website.

Ephesians 1:18-20 – “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the strength of His might, which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”

Dear Father God,
We are in awe of Your blessings with which You have blessed us. The vastness of Your mercy and the richness of Your grace compel us to worship You alone. We celebrate Christ, Him crucified and raised again, and we rejoice that He is seated at Your right hand, Sovereign over everything, even death itself. Glory to You, God! Glory!

We pray that You would pour out those heavenly blessings on the city of Oneonta, Alabama. We pray that as a city, they would eschew our culture’s idea of enlightenment, which requires rejecting You. Instead, we pray they would allow Your Spirit to enlighten their hearts to know You and the high calling with which You have called this city and every individual in it. We pray that they would know Christ. Let them know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (Eph. 3:19). Show them the truth that You are Sovereign over everything that concerns them. May the surpassing greatness of Your power overcome every effort of the enemy in their lives.

As the citizens of Oneonta know You and see Your power, we pray that it would cause this city to experience favor and blessing like never before. Enable this city to provide for its citizens what You have called government to provide. Let justice reign in the courts and in every public office and department. IF there is any injustice or fraud of any kind, we pray that You would shine Your light on it, and that restitution and restoration would come swiftly and completely. Give wisdom and righteous discernment to Mayor Norris and the city leaders. Let them know the hope of Your calling on their lives, the riches of the fellowship of the saints, and the surpassing greatness of Your power toward them who believe.

We pray for all this in the matchless name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

How are you feeling led to pray for Oneonta today?