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!

Praying for Steele, AL

Located in northeastern St. Clair County

Mayor John “Denney” Wilcox

Incorporated in 1952

Named for Joshua Toliver Steele, who donated land to the city and was the first station agent

2010 population 1,043

  • Early settlers were Revolutionary War veterans who arrived around 1814
  • A Methodist church and stage coach stop appeared in the 1820’s

Home to Horse Pens 40 – Alabama’s Premier Outdoor Nature Park and “The Home of the South’s Bluegrass Music”

Home to the Alabama International Dragway  (apparently my spellcheck isn’t Southern enough to recognize Dragway as a real word. It is insisting I change it to two words.)

Home to Steele Orchard – My family and I visited Steele Orchard last year. The people there are super friendly, and we were able to taste several varieties of apples. It was a fun trip. They told us it’s unique to have an apple orchard this far South, because a good apple harvest depends a lot on cool weather. To make up for the lack of cool weather, they have devised some innovative ideas, and use grafting techniques, to create apples that will do better in our climate. They can also graft seedlings together in such a way that one apple tree can grow up to 3 different kinds of apples, and is self-pollinating. If you buy one apple tree that only has one kind of apple tree on it, you have to make sure there are other apple trees nearby for cross-pollination, or you won’t get apples. It was a fun and very educational visit.

Because I am sometimes a bit corny, I couldn’t help but think of verses that have to do with apples and races, in light of those last two points above.  And since there are no verses that have to do with races AND apples, I want to go with 2 different passages as we pray for Steele.

Psalm 17:7-8 – “Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior, of those who take refuge at Your right hand from those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”

Hebrews 12:1 – “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Praise You, our Lord and Savior, for Your wonderful, everlasting love for us! You are a shelter for us and You hide us because of Your great love for us. Not because we deserve it, but only because You choose to love us with an infinite, gracious, merciful love!

We pray that You would show Your wondrous lovingkindness to the town of Steele, Alabama, Lord. Establish this town in Your righteousness, justice and truth because of Your great love and Your purposes for Steele and the people who live there. Lord, I pray that every person who lives there would find refuge in You. We pray this especially for those who have suffered injustice and abuse. Show Yourself as THE Father to the fatherless and as a Husband to the widows.  God, let them know that Your eye is on them and that You see and You care and will work for their good.

Lord, in a culture that is all about performance and being the best, there is tremendous pressure on everyone from business owners to politicians, to church leaders, to parents and everyone in between to do whatever it takes to rise to the top. Father, for the people of Steele, would you change their perspective, and cause them to look to the only prize that matters, which is laid up for us in Heaven? Show them how to lay aside every pressure the world has laid on them and enable them to only run the course that You have set before them. When they do so, I pray that You would pour out provision and blessing on them and what You have called them to do – whether it be as a parent, a teacher, a business owner, a preacher, an artist, etc. We especially pray this for Mayor Wilcox.

Thank You, Lord for Your Word. Thank You for teaching us how to pray, and for hearing and answering our prayers. We ask that You would bless the town of Steele for Your name’s sake. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

There is incredible power in corporate prayer – when we lift up our voices together in prayer for a united purpose. To pray from our hearts is essential, but to also express that unity and agreement with our spoken (or typed) words I believe makes it even more powerful. I was recently reminded of this at a prayer gathering sponsored by Mission Birmingham. Would you consider taking a minute of your time to add your words to our prayers for Steele, or any of the other municipalities we have on the blog, by leaving them in the comments section? Together, we can raise up a concert of prayer for our communities and see how God will transform them because we have called upon Him.