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!

Odenville Turns 100!

St. Clair County

Mayor Rodney (Buck) Christian

Incorporated in 1914 (100 years old this year!)

2010 population – 3, 585

  • The Harden family moved to the area in 1824 and established a blacksmith shop. Village grew around this shop and became known as Harden’s Shop
  • First school built in 1864 and was a one-room log house.
  • In the early 1890’s a cotton gin was built and the area grew into a regional cotton market.
  • 1908 chosen as the site of St. Clair County’s first high school
  • The James Forman House is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage

Because I am corny with stuff like this, I thought it would be cool to pray out of Psalm 100 in honor of Odenville’s 100th birthday this year!
Psalm 100 – “Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”

Dear Lord God, we come before You today with hearts full of praise and thanksgiving for all You have done for us, in us, and through us. You are a great God and a great King above all gods. You are a good God and we love You.

We lift up Odenville, Alabama to You today. Thank You for Your faithfulness that has sustained this town for 100 years. In the Old Testament, every 50 years was a year of Jubilee, a year of celebration and of cancelled debts. We pray that this year would be a double-Jubilee for Odenville and the people who live and work there. May they experience freedom in Christ, for by His blood every sin-debt they’ve ever had is cancelled. Let them walk in the total freedom that You purchased for them. We pray for restoration for anything and everything the enemy has stolen from the town and its people. Use this year to firmly set this town’s  “feet” on the path You have ordained for them for the next 100 years.

We pray that the people of Odenville would celebrate Your goodness and faithfulness. We pray that nothing would hold them back from fully expressing the praise and thanksgiving You deserve. Cause them to acknowledge and express that every good thing is from Your hand, because You satisfy the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145). Let them know You as LORD, the One True God, and cause them to see specifically how Your lovingkindness and faithfulness has sustained them. Cause them to hold on to Your lovingkindness and faithfulness in the midst of the storms and heartaches of life. Teach them how to shout for joy even in the midst of great pain. Teach them the difference between joy and happiness.

We pray for Mayor Christian and the other town leaders. Bless them with grace and wisdom to lead well. Equip them with everything they need to be the servant-leaders You have called them to be. We pray that they would celebrate Your faithfulness and goodness well as much as they celebrate their town’s 100th birthday. We pray for a spirit of unity and humility among the town’s leadership in order to move forward into all that You have in store for them and their town.

Finally, we pray for the Church in Odenville. Cause them to throw off every religious tradition that is not of You. Use this year of “double-Jubilee” to set Your Body free from everything that has entangled it and held it back from its potential. Bless them and encourage them by letting them rise up with wings like eagles, empowered by Your Spirit to run the race that You have set before them. Use them to lead their town into Your gates with thanksgiving and into Your courts with praise.

We thank you for Odenville and we shout joyfully because of Your goodness and faithfulness in our lives. Hallelujah!!

Well, that was fun! How is the Lord prompting you to pray today, either for Odenville or for your own town/city?