Praying for Sumiton – a City on a Hill

Located in Walker County, 21 miles NW of Birmingham. The city straddles Jefferson and Walker counties.

Mayor Petey Ellis

Incorporated in 1952

Named for the high elevation of the city

Population in 2010 – 2,520

  • Known as Bald Eagle until it was renamed Summit around 1899
  • The name was changed from Summit to Sumiton in 1926 when the town wanted a Post Office and had to choose a new name because there was already another town named Summit.
  • Home of Bevill State Community College
  • Sumiton K-8 school is one of the largest schools in Walker County
  • The annual Frog Festival, held the first Saturday in October, is a community event that includes music, food and Arts and Crafts booths

Matthew 5:14-16 – “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Lord Jesus, we praise You for being the Light of the world. Your light is full of truth and grace and everything lovely. So many around us try to make darkness look enticing and desirable. Forgive us for believing those lies. Instead, we declare the truth that Your light is our life, and it is only in Your light that we find true freedom and peace and joy.

We pray for the city of Sumiton, AL to be that city that is set on a hill. Let Your Church in this city shine forth Your light so that it touches every aspect of life in Sumiton. Lord, we pray that things hidden in darkness would be exposed and brought to justice, starting with Your Church. And we pray that those things that have quietly been seeking Your light and truth would be advanced and promoted for the good of this city and for Sumiton. Let Your light set the captives free from addiction and hopelessness. Let it bring life to dead places and healing to the broken. Let Your light bring salvation and redemption to the people of this city, and even to the city itself.

We lift up Mayor Ellis to you, along with the other city leaders and pray for Your light to transform them from the inside out. Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You did not come to whitewash our outside while our inside stayed dark and lost and dead. You came to cleanse our hearts from all unrighteousness, and to empower us to pursue truth, justice and righteousness in all that we say and do. I pray that the men and women who lead Sumiton would be established in Your truth to pursue justice and righteousness in everything they do. Bless them to hear Your voice and to know how You desire them to lead their city. May the way they lead Sumiton, AL glorify the Father.

We ask all of this in the name of Jesus, our Light and our Salvation. Amen.

How would you finish this sentence, “Jesus, we praise You for being our Light and Salvation because _________.”? I would love it if you left your answer in the comments.

Praying Ephesians for Sipsey, Alabama

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day, and took time to remember and give thanks for those who have paid the heaviest price for the freedoms we enjoy in this country. It also makes me feel especially grateful for Jesus laying down His life. Not only because without His sacrifice we would probably never know what it’s like for anyone to give their life for ours, but also because His death purchased for us a freedom that is not dependent on politics or the will of man, but on the everlasting, unchanging promises of our Heavenly Father, and that freedom will last forever.

Located in Walker County on the Sipsey fork of the Black Warrior River

Mayor Belinda McCain

Founded in 1912 as a company town to house local minors

2010 population: 437

  • First school house built in 1854
  • In 1912 Sipsey Mines opened (under the name of Maryland Coal Co.) which was owned by the DeBardeleben family
  • Dr. Milton H. Fies, an engineer brought to Sipsey by DeBardeleben, laid out the town. He reportedly said that the most difficult task was deciding if the church the company built would serve as a Methodist or Baptist church. He finally determined that Sundays would be rotated between the two, serving as Methodist on one Sunday, and as Baptist the following Sunday.
  • Sipsey suffered direct hits from two tornadoes on April 27, 2011

I’m having a case of writer’s block or Bible block, meaning I’m having a really hard time finding a verse I believe the Lord is leading me to use to pray for this town. So I’m just going to go with one of my favorite passages that I’ve used before, Ephesians 1:18-21. It’s hard to go wrong praying out of the Bible, but even more so when praying actual prayers straight from the Bible. I’m not even going to type out the verses before-hand, because I’m going to pray them almost directly from the Bible, personalizing it as I go.

Ephesians 1:18-21 – Father, we pray for the Town of Sipsey, “that the eyes of (their) heart would be enlightened”, so that its residents, from Mayor McCain all the way to those living in poverty or who feel they have no voice or influence, “would know the hope of Your calling” on their lives and on the town itself. Please let them experience “the riches of Your inheritance in the saints”, and to know “the surpassing greatness of Your power toward us who believe”. We praise You, God, because all these things are according “to the strength of Your might which You brought about in Christ, when You raised Him from the dead and seated Him at Your 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.”

We pray that the people of Sipsey would know and trust in that strength to accomplish all that concerns them and their town. The idea of submission is not a popular one in our culture, but it’s the best possible situation for us when we are submitted to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So we pray that You would turn the hearts of Mayor McCain and all those who help lead this town, and the heart of every citizen, and cause them to submit to Your righteous authority. Let them see abundant blessing and help from Your throne as they do so. Cause them to marvel over You and Your faithfulness to Your promises, and over Your strength and might.

We pray all these things in Your all-powerful name, Jesus, amen.

Will you tell us how you are praying for either Sipsey or your own city or town today?



Praying for Parrish

Located in Walker County

  • Land area: 2.1 square miles
  • Population in 2010: 1,268; in 2012: 978

Mayor Cedrick Ramsey

  •  He became the Mayor Pro Tem when the previous mayor resigned in the middle of his second term in July 2013 for health reasons

Incorporated in October 1922

  • Founded in 1878
  • First known as Hewitt, after the first post office established there in 1878
  • Also known as Jonesboro at the same time, after the first post master
  • Name changed to Parrish in 1891 after the first telegraph officer
  • Known as a coal-mining town

Recent leadership is credited for turning the town of Parrish around, reducing the formerly high crime rate, improving local roads and government buildings, and becoming a model of small-town development.

The town experienced a lot of change in a short period of time in 2013 when the previous mayor and a few other city leaders resigned from their positions.

I felt led to two passages for Parrish:

Psalm 127:1 – “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.”
Psalm 89:14-16 – “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; lovingkindness and truth go before You. How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all the day, and by Your righteousness they are exalted.”

You are altogether glorious in Your holiness. You dwell in inapproachable light (I think that’s a verse, but I can’t find it at the moment). Your reign in righteousness and justice. There is no shadow of turning with You, as the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” says. In Your love and mercy, You cover us with Your robes of righteousness, and we are in awe and profoundly, eternally grateful.

Today, we lift up the town of Parrish, Alabama before You, Lord God. We pray that the huge strides that have been made in recent years would not be in vain. Cause Mayor Ramsey and the current town leaders to put their eyes on You as they govern their town. We pray Mayor Ramsey and the councilmen and -women would rejoice in Your name, that they would walk in the light of Your countenance, and that by Your righteousness they would be exalted.

We pray that You would establish a firm foundation of Your righteousness and justice for this town. If there is any injustice anywhere in this town, we pray You would bring it into the light of Your truth, and bring Your righteousness to bear on those situations. Set up intercessors as Your watchmen over Parrish; please guard and protect this town, Lord. Build it up to be all that You have called it to be. In the name of Jesus Christ, we cancel every plan of the enemy to hold this city back from the Lord’s will for it, and we cancel every word curse that has been spoken over Parrish. We speak the blessing of the name of the LORD over Parrish, Alabama.

Finally, we pray that You would encourage the hearts of the people of Parrish. Change is hard, and last year it sounds like they experienced a lot of change all at once with key people in leadership. Cause them to look to You and put their trust and hope for their town in You alone. Bless the people not only with provision for their physical needs, but also with a personal relationship with You through Your Son. Cause this town and its people to prosper according to Kingdom prosperity for Your glory.

We pray all of this in Your holy name, Amen.

We’ve all experience moments of great upheaval and change, and so we can relate to what that felt like for Parrish. How does that prompt you to pray for them today?




Praying for Oakman, Alabama

We are enjoying a beautiful Spring-like day here in the metro-B’ham area! Before we go out and enjoy it, or after we come back inside, let’s take a few minutes to pray for Oakman, AL today. Also, don’t forget to set your clocks an hour forward tonight!

Located in Walker County

Mayor Dennis Welch

Named Oakman in 1894, after W. G. Oakman, vice-president of the Sloss-Sheffield Iron and Steel Company

2010 population: 789

  • 3.08 square miles of land area
  • Oakman town limits form a circle
  • Settled in the 1820’s
  • Became a shipping center after the Georgia Pacific Railroad came through in 1884.
  • Also called York and Day’s Gap
  • First city in Walker County to install telephone lines.

Psalm 25:8-10 – “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice; and He teaches the humble His way. All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.”

Lord God, we exalt You because You alone are good and highly exalted, and because You are also humble and loving and merciful. You have every right to leave us to die in our sin, yet You chose to save us. You choose to lead us out of the darkness of our hearts, even when we are Your enemies, and to lead us into Your light and truth. We are so grateful.

We pray that the town of Oakman, Alabama would taste and see Your goodness in their midst. Please shine your light on the things hidden in darkness so that freedom and truth would prevail over sin. We pray for Your sustaining grace in the midst of every home. May the streets of Oakman be safe and full of life. As Spring starts to bloom all around us, we ask that Your lovingkindness – Your covenant love and grace – would be so evident in this town, that it seems to drip off of every leaf, and be the fragrance that wafts over every pleasant breeze.

God, we pray that You would bless Mayor Welch and his leadership team with a spirit of humility, and that You would lead them in justice and teach them Your way. Let their steps be ordered by You and protect them from turning away from it by any temptation. Give them grace to be servant-leaders to their town and in their homes and churches. Bless them to know You as their Savior and to build their lives and their careers around You.

Equip and empower the Church in Oakman to walk and live out Your grace in their community. We pray for health and healing among the Body of Christ – not just physical, but mainly spiritual, mental and emotional healing. Raise her up to be the pure Bride of Christ You are calling us all to be. Use the Church to be a change agent in that community for Your Kingdom.

We are all sinners and desperately need Your saving grace. We boldly ask that Oakman would be a whole town saved by grace through faith. Amen.

Beautiful Nauvoo

Today we begin going through the N’s, most of which are towns I had not heard of before. If you have lived in Nauvoo, or know about these towns over the next couple of weeks, we would love to hear from you! I would love to someday visit all the towns and cities we’ve prayed for. Until then, I need you to fill me in on what these places are like.

Located in Walker and Winston Counties (straddles the two counties)

Mayor Dwight Byram

Founded in 1888

Incorporated in 1907

Named in honor of Nauvoo, Illinois, a city founded by Joseph Smith, a Mormon prophet. Navoo is also a Hebrew word meaning “beautiful place”

2010 population 221

  • Originally known as O’Mary’s Mill

  • Once a coal mining community located on Blackwater Creek.

  • When the Norfolk Southern Railroad was built, Joshua Blackwell donated the land and the town moved to its present location which, at the time, was close to the railroad.

  • Dr. Sanky, who practiced medicine in Nauvoo from 1903 until the 1940’s delivered the first quadruplets in Alabama.  His office is still standing.

Margaret Early Lee’s book, Memories of Nauvoo, gives a history of this small town

Instead of Scripture, which is always the best source to pray out of, I have a chorus running through my head that we used to sing in youth group.
“Oh Lord, You’re beautiful. Your face is all I seek. For when Your eyes are on this child, Your grace abounds to me.”

Dear Father, You are wonderful and altogether lovely. You are perfect – perfect love, perfect righteousness, perfect beauty, perfect justice, even perfect wrath (whoa, chew on that one for a moment) – the epitome of perfection. Your will is perfect, and You execute it perfectly. So many of us wear ourselves out striving for perfection, but we can rest in You, because You are our perfection, our holiness, our righteousness, and because You give us grace for our imperfection. You do not call us to be perfect; You call us to be holy. If we are in Christ, we can be a mess according to “perfect” standards, yet we can still be holy. Because of Jesus. Praise the Lord!

Lord, we pray for the town of Nauvoo today. Release the people of Nauvoo from impossible standards of perfection, and from the slavery of others’ expectations. In Jesus’ name, we pray You would break off every yoke of impossible standards in every area of their life. Let them experience the freedom of Your grace through the Gospel. Father, thank You that it is “by grace (we) are saved, through faith, and that not of works, so that no one may boast”. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

We lift up Mayor Dwight Byram to You today, and ask that he would walk in the freedom of Your grace. Compel Mayor Byram to seek Your face before everything else. Turn towards him, Lord, and be gracious to Him. Cause Your face to shine upon him so that He may be saved. Give him and the rest of this town’s leadership wisdom and grace to lead well. Release them from the impossible standards of perfection that the public oftentimes puts on our leaders. Cause them to rest in Your grace for them.

We pray that this town would be known as a beautiful place to everyone who lives there, works there, and visits there, because You are in that place. Let Your perfect grace shine on Nauvoo, and spread to all the surrounding areas, and even to the world. Establish this town in Your favor, Lord, for Your glory. May it reflect the beauty of our Lord.

If you have any personal experience or knowledge about Nauvoo, we would love to hear from you in the comments below. Or share with us how you are being led to pray for this town.

Praying for Kansas, Alabama

It’s a state! It’s a music group! No, it’s a town in Alabama!!! I know that was corny, but I couldn’t resist. It was either that or somehow using Dorothy’s quote from the “Wizard of Oz”, especially since this Kansas has also seen its share of tornadoes.

Located in Walker County 47 miles north of Tuscaloosa

Mayor Sheila Clark

Incorporated in 1956

2012 Population 224

  • First recorded land owner was James Tittle on November 28, 1822

  • A 1917 tornado destroyed much of Kansas. In 1961 another tornado destroyed Kansas School

  • Veterans Memorial Park in Kansas pays tribute to residents of Kansas who died in wars.

  • Annual events

    • Kansas Day, celebrated on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May (Decoration Day), features food, rides, and an auction.  Proceeds from the event are used for the renovation and upkeep of Veterans Memorial Park

  • Notable Residents

    • Cotton Clark, an Alabama football player in the early 60’s who played halfback under Coach Bryant

    • Lloyd Nix, quarterback of Auburn’s 1957 national championship football team and recipient of the 2010 Auburn University COSAM (College of Science and Mathematics) Alumni Award

Psalm 46:1-5 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, through the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.”

Lord God, thank You for being our refuge and strength. You are mighty to save. Nothing is too difficult for You.

We pray for this town of Kansas today, Father. May it know You as its refuge and strength. You have sustained them through storms and time. We pray that You would give the people of Kansas a deep and abiding assurance that You will sustain them through the fiercest storms of life. Set them free from fear. We pray that You would be their unshakeable Rock and Firm Foundation. Turn their hearts toward You, Lord Jesus, more than at any other time in their history.

We lift up Mayor Clark to You, Lord, along with the other city leaders of Kansas. May Your Spirit be poured out on them, to refresh them and make their hearts glad in You. Move them to make decisions that would make Kansas a town in which Your Spirit can dwell. As verse 10 from this same passage says, we pray that they would cease from their striving – whether it’s in their jobs as city leaders, or in their homes or families – and acknowledge and know that You are God. May their lives and their choices exalt You in their midst, as well as among their city and the nations.

We pray that Kansas would be known as a city filled with the Spirit of God. Dwell in her midst, God. May the river of Your Spirit flow through Kansas, bringing life and joy. Firmly establish this town for Your purposes and Your glory. Amen.

Please leave us a comment! It can be a verse that God brought to mind, or a quick sentence prayer, or just a thought or question. The Lord is honored when His people pray together!

The Father’s Kingdom in Jasper, Alabama

Well, it’s October and feeling like Fall here in the Deep South! I’ve read so many Facebook posts from friends talking about how happy they are that it’s October because it means Fall is really here. Meanwhile, I’m excited about Fall because it means I’m going to the beach before the month is over! I might be a bit behind-the-times on this seasonal thing….

Oh well, let’s pray for the city of Jasper today.


County Seat of Walker County

Mayor:  V. L. Posey

Incorporated on Dec 26, 1887 (some resources say 1886)

Named in memory of Sgt. William Jasper, a Revolutionary war hero

2010 Population 13,857

  • Settled around 1815

  • First settler E.D. Musgrove donated land to the county to establish the city with the stipulation that it be designated as the county seat.

  • Located in the middle of the Warrior Coal Fields, the second largest in the nation

  • First significant growth of the area in 1886 when two railroad lines were completed through Jasper.

  • The Bankhead House, built for John H. Bankhead in 1910, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places

  • Annual events

    • Annual Foothills Festival in the fall of each year.

    • Walker County Art in the park held in the Spring

    • Antique car show in October

  • Notable residents

    • Bankhead family, including John H. Bankhead II, United States Senator; William Bankhead, Speaker of the house of the U.S. Congress; Tallulah Bankhead, actress

    • Carl Elliot, former U.S. Congressman

    • George Linsdsey, actor

    • Tom Bevill,  Alabama Congressman

Even though we’ve done this before, I feel led to use some of the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6 as our scriptural prayer prompter.

Heavenly Father, You rule and reign on high. We worship You and adore You. We pray that Your name would be honored as holy in the city of Jasper. Magnify Your holy name among the residents, the workforce, the children, and the leaders of Jasper. May they see the blessing that comes when Your name is magnified among them.

Father, let them see what Your Kingdom looks like here on earth. We pray that the hearts of the fathers would be turned to the children, and the hearts of the children be turned toward the fathers. We pray that grief and loss would be swallowed up as You bring redemption and restoration into Jasper. We pray that every child in Jasper would have a safe place to live where they are loved and nurtured. We pray that every broken heart would be healed in Jesus’ name.

We also pray for Your supernatural provision for this city. Please give Mayor Posey and the city leaders wisdom to steward the resources of their city well. We pray that churches would have enough resources to be the Church You’ve called us to be in their communities. Let the Church in Jasper be the solution to the social ills that every city must battle. Let them be ministers of Your grace and truth, rightly dividing the Word of God. Give everyone in this city their physical and spiritual daily bread, and let the people recognize it is only by Your hand.

We pray that spiritual revival would sweep through this city, bringing the power of Your forgiveness of our sins into every life. Transform lives with the power of the Gospel. Let those who are saved by grace be compelled by love to seek after You with all their hearts, and to live for You in all that they do. May Jasper be known as a city of people who love and serve like You do. We pray all of this for Your holy name’s sake. Amen.

What are you trusting God for Jasper, or for your city, today?