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.

 

 

 

Favor and Blessing for Birmingham

On New Year’s Day, al.com posted an article by Carol Robinson stating that the homicide rate in Birmingham for 2014 was one of the lowest in decades, at 59 killings, which is 7 less than the year before. Our lowest homicide rate since 1966 was in 2011, with 57. Of those 59, 8 were ruled justifiable so far. While we understand that for the family and loved ones of these victims even one homicide is too many, we rejoice that the rate continues to trend downward in recent years.

They mentioned a few of the other cities we’ve been praying for in the article:

. Bessemer – 2 homicides, down from 5 the previous year

. Hoover – 2 homicides, down from 4 the previous year

. Fairfield – 4 homicides, same as in 2013

. Brighton, Homewood, Hueytown, Pleasant Grove and Warrior – 1 homicide each

In other news, an article on Yellowhammer said that Birmingham was named Best City in America by Movoto, a real-estate website known for making research-based city rankings.

Lord God of Heaven, we know there are still a lot of things that need to be improved on and prayed for around the metro-Birmingham area, but we are so encouraged by these reports. Our prayers have made and are making a difference! You, Lord God, hear and answer us as we seek You for our cities! I think that as intercessors, or those who have a heart to pray for their city, we tend to think that until we have the men and women we like in office, and all the homeless are taken care of and all the crime is gone, then our prayers haven’t been effective. But those are the lies of Satan because it keeps us discouraged, overwhelmed, and really puts too much focus on our prayers and our ability to change anything because we pray. The truth is, as we pray, we are coming before You, the Sovereign Creator of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Almighty, the Great I AM. You are stepping in and changing things; You are dispatching Your angels on behalf of our towns and cities. You are saving lives and affecting change for our good and Your glory. Hallelujah! Glory to You, Lord!

Lord, I confess that I sometimes grow weary in praying, or I let myself get distracted by being busy. I pray that in this new year, You would give us grace to be more faithful and constant in prayer, keeping our eyes on You and not on the circumstances we hear and read about in the news. Protect us from feeling overwhelmed by evil, by trusting Your perfect plan for us and for the places You have ordained for us to live in and pray for.

Like Paul said in Acts 17:24-28, we acknowledge that You are God of heaven and earth, and You are not served by human hands as though You needed anything, since You are the One who gives to all people life and breath and all things. You ordained the times we should live and “the boundaries of our habitation” so that we would seek You and find You. In You we live and move and have our being. Continue to give us grace to realize how utterly dependent we are on You, so that we would be even more diligent to seek You in all things, and to give You the honor, praise, glory and thanksgiving of which You alone are so worthy.

So thank You, Father, for hearing and answering our prayers on behalf of the metro-Birmingham area. We praise You for the lives that were saved in 2014. We praise You for the favor that is continuing to increase toward Birmingham. It seems that Isaiah 62:4 is coming to pass for this city; it is no longer being called Forsaken or Desolate; instead it is being called a delight and a covenant of righteousness with the Lord is being and will continue to be established. We pray that the entire metro-Birmingham area, all 7 counties and 90 municipalities, will be established in a covenant of righteousness with You. For Your glory. Amen.

What Praying Did

We did it! We prayed for all 90 municipalities in the metro-Birmingham area! It took 100 posts over a year-and-a-half. I was looking back through some of the first posts, and was surprised to see how much the posts changed over time. It was interesting to also notice how one of our smaller towns, Eldridge easily got the most visits – with over 200 in one day! That was amazing!

Kevin, the executive director of Mission Birmingham, of which this blog is an initiative, often reminded me that the goal of this blog wasn’t about readership, follows and comments, but about simply praying for the entire metro-B’ham area, one municipality at a time. As I focused on just praying, I saw how God really gave me His prayers to pray, and we even got to see God working in some of these towns and cities. My prayers also changed. I noticed they became much more evangelistic in nature, which is not my normal “prayer-default”, if you will. It made me wonder what ministries and evangelistic efforts we were coming along-side of through prayer in those cities and towns. We may never know this side of Heaven how God used those prayers, but we can be confident that He heard and answered. As we wrapped up praying through all 90 municipalities, the Lord suddenly started reminding me of His Scriptural promises regarding prayer. Nearly every day over the that week, it seemed I “happened across” another one. I think one of my current favorites is I John 5:14-15 – “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” If you keep that in mind as you look over the posts, and all the things we’ve prayed for the metro-Birmingham area, you should get pretty excited at what God is up to. At least, I do.

I have always loved the City of Birmingham, even from the time I was a little girl. We lived in Bessemer at the time, and whenever we had to drive into Birmingham, I would be in awe at the huge, old buildings, the straight streets laid out in a grid, the parks, all of it, really. I’ve also loved Bessemer, because it was my hometown, and even back then I could “feel” the history emanating from the buildings and streets, even if I was too young to understand it. For instance, I used to think DeBardeleben Park (I think I spelled that right. I hope.) was named for a Spanish explorer, not the man who basically founded the city and contributed so much to the development of the area and the steel industry. But then as I started looking into the history of the towns and cities – with the help of our awesome researcher, Ginny – I became so fascinated by how so many of them in this area were tied together by the steel-making industry or other common denominators. I also fell in love with each one we prayed for. I have long believed that you cannot pray regularly for someone without a them becoming knit to your heart. Apparently, it is also true for places you pray for. I feel so connected to all 90 of municipalities. I would love to have the time to go and explore each of these places in person. Maybe someday….

So as we turn the page of this blog, and start focusing our prayers more on current events and needs in the metro-Birmingham area, my heart is full of thanksgiving to God for allowing us to play a part in His plan for each town and city. I’m grateful to know He has heard our prayers, and will accomplish His will in them as it already is in Heaven. “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

Is there a particular city or post that stuck with you? If you were with us for most of the journey, did it change your perspective in any way as well? I would love to hear about it if it did!

 

Last but Not Least, Woodstock

Here it is! Our very last municipality to pray over!

www.woodstockalabama.com

Mayor Ricky Kornegay (this may not be the most recent information, but it was all I could find)

Straddles Bibb and Tuscaloosa Counties

  • The Bibb County portion is part of the metro-B’ham area
  • The Tuscaloosa County portion is part of the Tuscaloosa-metro area

2010 population: 1, 428

Named for Woodstock, England

First settled in the 1820s along the old Tuscaloosa to Huntsville Stagecoach line

  • Became the center of a thriving railroad business
  • In 1872, a rail line was installed down to West Blocton to ship the large abundance of coal from that area
  • Woodstock became a storage yard for coal, red and brown iron ore, and cotton
  • Also in 1872, a blast furnace was built by a man who had moved to town from Tannehill to manufacture pig iron

Town was the roots of a newspaper business in the 1800s

  • Publication moved to Six Mile and then to Birmingham where it became the “Birmingham News”

Formally incorporated in 1996 as North Bibb. Name was changed back to Town of Woodstock on 2000

Let’s wrap up by praying the Lord’s Prayer over this town, because really it’s my prayer for all of the metro-Birmingham area as well.

Matthew 6:9-13 – ““Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]”

Holy, Holy, Holy are You, Lord God Almighty! Your name is unlike any other, and nothing man or Satan can do is able to cast one shadow on the glory of Your holy name. Your name encompasses all that You are – every characteristic – and it will take Eternity to know You fully. You delight to reveal Yourself to us, and we delight to discover just how wonderful, amazing, Sovereign, just, perfect, good….holy You are.

We pray that the people of the Town of Woodstock would know Your holiness. We pray that Your kingdom would come to Woodstock, and Your will be done there as it already is in Heaven. We pray for strong marriages, safe homes and schools for children, widows to have what they need not just to survive but to thrive. We pray for godly leadership in their government through Mayor Kornegay and the Town Council, and for godly business leaders and church leaders.

Father, we ask for supernatural provision for everything the people of Woodstock needs for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), for physical and spiritual provision. Sustain them and let them find satisfaction in Your will for their lives and their town. Thank You that You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Ps. 145:16).

Lord, may the power of Your Gospel cover the Town of Woodstock, bringing forgiveness of sins, and release from the stronghold of shame and despair. Uproot bitterness and unforgiveness and bring restoration and reconciliation. Thank You that forgiving someone does not make the wrong they did “okay”. Wrong is never okay. Give us all grace to understand what real forgiveness is and what it looks like.

Deliver the Town of Woodstock from every evil scheme of the enemy. Shine Your light and expose in Your way the wolves in sheep’s clothing, the predators, the liars, any who are choosing by their behavior to lead others to destruction or to harm others. Establish righteous leaders and bless them. Let salvation prosper in this town.

Thank You, Father, that You have good plans for Woodstock to bless them and prosper them, to give them future and a hope in You. (Jer. 29:11). You have done wonderful things over this town’s history, and we pray that You would continue to. We pray all of these things in Your name, for Your matchless power and glory which has dominion forever. Amen.

So how long have you been on this prayer journey with us? Some of you have prayed through 90 municipalities with us! This journey has changed me and how I pray. I will share more about that in the next post. Thank you so much for joining us in our prayer journey! We will continue praying over the metro-Birmingham area in the days ahead.

Praying for Warrior, Alabama

Today we begin the municipalities that begin with “W”, which is the last letter for Alabama municipalities. I can’t believe we are so close to the end! There is always a chance we may have missed a city or town, so if you visit the blog and can’t find your hometown, please let us know. It could be that it hasn’t been officially incorporated yet, or that it wasn’t incorporated when our list was compiled (a few years ago), or that we somehow left it off our list out of human error.

I also wanted to share that a lot of the historical facts we list about each municipality we get from the city or town’s website, if they have one, or websites such as Wikipedia or City-town Info.com. Ginny, our main researcher, also makes phone calls and talks to real people who work in the city or town hall whenever possible. When she’s not able to do it, Google is my friend and “researcher”.

www.cityofwarrior.com

Located in Jefferson and Blount Counties

  • Northernmost city in Jefferson County. Outlying parts of the city are in Blount County.

Mayor Johnny Ragland

Named for the Warrior coal fields and the Black Warrior River which drained them

  • Was once hunting grounds for Native Americans
  • White settlers came to the area around 1816
  • Settlers founded Cane Creek School, the earliest school in the area, before Alabama became a state
  • Post office established in 1872

Arrival of the railroad in the 1860s transformed Warrior into a boomtown

  • People of all nationalities came by the thousands for the coal mining industry
  • Turbulence followed as the community experienced strikes and violence as different culture tried to learn to live together
  • A spirit of community emerged during the poverty and turmoil of the Depression, as conditions for miners and their families deteriorated.
  • The community, led by Major William T. Morgan, banded together to save over 200 families from starvation, disease job loss

Warrior Day is an annual event held in early autumn and includes entertainment, food and a large swap meet.

Psalm 33:16-22 – “The king is not saved by a mighty army; a warrior is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope on His lovingkindness, to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine.  Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You.”

Lord God, You are our shield, our strength and our Mighty Warrior who sings songs of deliverance over us! You fight for us, and we are assured of victory in You! Praise You, Lord God! Hallelujah!

Thank You for the city of Warrior, Alabama, and how You’ve brought them out of that place of turmoil and distress into a place of prosperity and peace. We pray that this city would put their hope in You alone and would rejoice in Your holy name. Let Warrior be a place that is the apple of Your eye, and may the people experience the joy and peace of Your lovingkindness. We pray Your lovingkindness would invade every home, every place of business, every church and every place of government in Warrior.

We pray for Mayor Ragland to put his hope and trust in You. For every difficult situation, for every battle he might face, we pray that he would trust in You to be His shield and defense. Give him and those who serve alongside him the wisdom to utilize every tool at their disposal to lead their city well, but to ultimately look to You as the source of hope, help and provision for their city and even their personal lives.

For those in this city who are suffering, we pray Lord God that You would deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We speak hope and life into those lives and situations that seem dead and hopeless. Mighty Warrior, we pray that You would step into those places and bring Your victory and deliverance out of Your compassion and faithfulness. May every person in Warrior know who their Warrior King is. Let them hope in You. Amen.

 

Inseparable – Praying Romans 8:38-39

We are praying for Vincent, Alabama today. We are only 8 municipalities away from the end of our list!

www.townofvincent.com

Mayor Randy McAllister

Located in Shelby, St. Clair and Talladega Counties

Settled by the Kidd family in the 1800s

Named after one of the Kidd daughters, Anna Bella Vincent

3 significant things led to it being incorporated as a town

  • First school established in 1854
  • First post office in 1887
  • Railroad came through the area in 1887
  • Town was incorporated on Feb. 16, 1887

Current population: 2, 003

A growing town of quiet country living with opportunities for business development

Home to Alabama’s largest living Christmas tree

Romans 8:31-32, 35, 37-39 – “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, then who is against us? 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?”….”Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword?”…..”But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convince neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Lord Jesus, we thank You and praise You for Your salvation, freely given to us though it cost You everything. Gracious Father, indeed how can we not trust You and Your love for us, when You gave Your only Son to die for us when we were Your enemies.

We pray that You would be for the town of Vincent, Alabama, and that nothing would be able to prevail against the town nor the people there. We pray for Your salvation to dwell in the midst of this town, and in every home and place of business. Let the Church of Vincent be a beacon of the Gospel.

It’s easy to read this passage too quickly and assume that it somehow promises a protection from tribulation, distress, persecution, etc. However, it only says that those things cannot separate us from Your love, and through You, we can be more than conquerors even in the midst of great hardship. So Father, we pray that for every person suffering in this town, that they would find the love of Christ that will carry them through it. We pray that as a town, they would look to You to carry them through every hardship they face. Thank You for the testimony they already have of being brought through difficult times and prospering in spite of them.

We pray for Mayor McAllister to also know and experience the love of Christ. We pray for his protection, but we also pray that for the things you allow to come into his life and into this town’s life, that it would only drive him closer to You. Cause Him to look to You for everything he needs pertaining to life and godliness. We pray that whatever might be coming against Mayor McAllister and the leadership of this town to try and separate them from Your love and Your will would be completely negated, in Jesus’ name. We declare that they, and this town, are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Aren’t you SO glad of God’s great love for us? Can you think of a person or a community that needs to know this truth today? Why not take a moment to post a prayer for them in the comments? There is great power when we come together in agreement in the Spirit through prayer!

Trussville – “Gateway to Happy Living”

This is the first of our last ten municipalities in the metro-B’ham area! We will continue to share prayer-based posts for various places around the metro-B’ham area once we are finished praying through all 90+ municipalities, but we are still praying for the Lord to show us exactly what He wants that to look like. Would you join us in seeking Him for the future of City on its Knees?

Trussville is located in Jefferson and St Clair counties; considered a suburb of Birmingham

Mayor Gene Melton

www.cityoftrussville.com

Originally settled by European settler from North Carolina, Warren Truss, who constructed a grist mill on the Cahaba River in 1821

  • Remained an agricultural community until after the Civil War when the Alabama-Chattagnooga Railway was built through the town
  • In 1866, a blast furnace was built where the current Hewitt-Trussville School now stands
  • During the Depression in 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Government Resettlement Administration built houses in the area and called it “Cahaba Homestead Village”. It was called Slagheap Village by the locals.
  • Incorporated as a town on June 10, 1947
  • Officially became a city on May 31, 1957 and the name was changed to Trussville

2010 population: 19, 933

  • One of the fastest-growing cities in Jefferson County and Alabama
  • Its citizens still lovingly refer to it as “Mayberry”
  • Strives to keep a small-town feel while enjoying the benefits of being a big city

Jeremiah 29:11-13 – “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.'”

I never really noticed this before, but this very well-known and beloved set of verses is set in the context of instructing the Israelites on how to settle into and live in the city(ies) the Lord had sent them to. Isn’t that cool? Jeremiah 29:7 says, “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.”

Heavenly Father, in Your Sovereign plan, You have placed each one of us into the cities and towns in which we now live. Your plan is always for our good and Your glory, and it includes the places we live. Cause us to live in a manner that reflects our trust in Your perfect plan for our lives, and compel us to seek the welfare of our cities in prayer and in action.

Today, Lord, we seek the welfare of the city of Trussville. Thank You for the work You have already done in this city to establish it in prosperity and blessing. It is a unique blessing for a city to be able to grow as fast as Trussville has and still maintain its small-town feel. We pray that You would continue to bless it in that way.

We pray that the people of Trussville would be diligent to seek You and trust You for their lives and for the welfare of their city and communities. Compel them to draw near to You. Thank You for Your promises to be found when we seek You with all our hearts. Whatever there may be that would hinder them from seeking You, we pray that You would remove it. May the power of the Gospel shine forth from Trussville even brighter than their prosperity and growth. More than a “Gateway to Happy Living”, like the city’s motto, thank You that the Gospel is the “gateway to joy-filled living”. Reverse the advance the enemy has made into any area of their lives: marriages and families, schools, business, politics, healthcare, government, etc.

We pray for Mayor Melton and those who serve along-side him in leadership over this great city. We pray that in humility, they would put their trust in You alone, and would seek Your face for the welfare of their city. Grant them peace and confidence in knowing You will listen and answer them when they call upon You and pray to You, not only for the city, but also in their own lives. We pray that their private lives would bless You and honor You, as well. Let their whole lives be lived in a way that brings honor to You and blessing to their families and to their city.

We ask for all these things in the matchless name of the God of the city, The Great I Am, to whom we have access because of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

Take a moment of time and find one of the cities/towns we’ve prayed for, and ask the Lord’s blessing on that place. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to be able to say we’ve prayed through nearly every municipality in the metro-B’ham area. We would love for you to be a part of that if you haven’t already.