How God Can Transform Your City Through The Power Of Prayer!
Back in Nehemiah's day (about 500 B.C.), God burdened his heart for the city of Jerusalem. The rebuilding of the temple had taken place (516 B.C.) and true worship was restored to God's people. However, history reveals the actual CITY of Jerusalem was mostly abandoned (Neh. 7:4). The Jewish people were probably isolated from one another, scraping by in the outlying areas and coming into the city each week to worship.
Since the people had no city to join together in, they were subject to evil from local warlords or the whim of anyone with cruel motives traveling through the area. Without an actual city: there was no strength of community, no government, no corporate will, no prosperity, no resources, no respect, no ability to build something permanent and sustainable, no safety, no security ... no WALLS to protect them from the enemy.
Nehemiah could see the problem(s) and he knew what was needed to begin the process of finding the solution(s). A Wall. Yes, to continue the purposes God had for His people, a wall had to be built. Until there was a wall, everything the city needed for rebirthing could not begin. Nehemiah finished rebuilding the walls of the city in 445 B.C. The Jews had been under "great distress and reproach" for over 70 years until a man who stepped out in faith, obeyed his "heavenly assignment" and followed the leading of the Lord in his life.
Spiritual Application For Us Today
I believe God wants to rebuild and transform our cities today for Jesus Christ. God has and will continue to use the Church to transform lives and communities. A foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been laid. The temple has been built. But, today, at least in the western church, there are no walls around our cities!
The Lord wants to establish His presence in every area of life. Our work, our schools, our neighborhoods, in small businesses, in the corporate world, in government, in education, through medicine - you name it. Our heavenly Father IS in "all of life" and He desires for us to take part in what He is doing on the planet. What we do and how we live our lives is important to God. And WHERE we live most of our lives is what I'll simply call -The Marketplace. (My loose definition is: wherever you go during the week after you've attended a church service on Sunday morning.) So basically, our local marketplace is OUR city where we live and work.
Do you think the Lord's name is lifted up and exalted in the city where you live? Is Jesus reigning at the local colleges, in the board rooms, the corporate headquarters, the local city government, the hospitals, the research parks, mom & pop retail stores or on the street where you live or at the gym where you work out or wherever YOUR marketplace is? Oh sure, we do see God moving in little pockets where Christians are praying, but overall, our everyday environment is not characterized by God's presence. The Christians who do find each other in the marketplace are usually quiet about their faith and bunkered down, trying to stay out of the line of the enemy's fire. So as Christians, what are we to do?
Well, I believe it is time to build a SPIRITUAL WALL around our cities.
Just like Nehemiah did in the Old Testament, we must begin by building a wall to protect us from evil. Once a spiritual wall is built, security and safety for believers will be dramatically increased ... a strengthening of the Christian community will form ... non Christians will be blessed by a supernatural presence of God .... Christian leaders in government, in education, in the private sector, etc. will be empowered to stand strong for their faith and the name of Jesus ... a corporate will from the local body of Christ will emerge ... increased financial resources will flow towards Kingdom work ... a place where the sick, the poor and the wounded can go and have access to a "city of refuge" to heal and be transformed by God's love ... the churches (united) will work together with their fellow believers in the marketplace for true transformation!
What This "Spiritual Wall" Is NOT...
I'm not talking here about how some might want Christians to be in charge everywhere in the marketplace, and/or running away from the world. What I AM talking about is creating a spiritual reality in our cities...a protection and prayer even over those who may not yet know Him...as in the days of Jeremiah that we would "pray for the peace of the city."
How do we build a spiritual wall, you ask? Simple, but profound ... We PRAY!
A handful of us who work and live in Charlottesville, VA have begun to pray for our city. We are currently standing and looking at the broken gates and rubble of stones like Nehemiah did when he first surveyed the area around Jerusalem. We see a mess and we are crying out to God to build the wall for the sake of His Kingdom purposes for our city! Would God so move your heart to desire to "get on the wall" where you live ... in your city ... in your marketplace where you live and work?
I'd like to invite you to Get On Your Knees And Begin Praying For Your City!
Where I live, we are not doing anything fancy. We are just coming before the Lord and asking for Him to break in on our behalf and rebuild and transform Charlottesville! Charlottesville is such a special city. People come from all over the world to live here. I believe God has unique plans for such a place where national surveys call Charlottesville the #1 place in America to live. Why wouldn't God take the "great things of life" that the world sees as satisfying (which truthfully are just shadows of what ultimately is good and fulfilling and satisfying, which is God alone) and glorify Himself and show His love in overwhelming abundance?
What To Do Right Now:
There are many attributes about your city that makes it special and unique. I would encourage you to find another brother or sister in Christ and begin praying regularly for your marketplace and specifically, for your city.
There are many ways to pray. Here are two proven effective and very powerful prayer models to follow taken from The Joseph Company. (The Joseph Company is the marketplace ministry from The International House of Prayer in Kansas City. www.josephcompany.org)
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