My church is engaging in a national prayer initiative called Seek God For the City. We are joining, in spirit, churches around the country who are praying for their own cities during Lent.
Every evening after dinner, my husband, children and I pass the prayer guide around the kitchen table, and, together, lift the needs of our city up to God. The guide has led us to pray for spiritual awakening, transformation of communities, and reconciliation of relationships. We have prayed for the marriages, college students, homeless and elderly of our city, to name a few. I am thoroughly enjoying this time with my family, and trust that God is using our prayers.
I’ve lived in my particular city for over twenty years. Other than appreciating its lakes, the good school system, the quiet orderly neighborhoods and restaurant choices, I don’t usually give my city a whole lot of prayer thought beyond my family’s needs. I have prayed for my city during tornado warnings and blizzards. I’ve prayed for it when my teens are driving on its roads or trick-or-treating on Halloween. I’ve prayed during election time. You know. Self-absorbed prayers.
Yet, in intentionally seeking God for my city, what has been so unexpected has been the transformation in me. While I’ve prayed in deeper, more strategic ways for my city, God has worked on my heart. He’s tenderized it to care and notice and intercede in fresh, new ways. My eyes see, really see my city, as if for the first time.
I pass a bicyclist on the street….feel myself getting concerned about her safety, and I pray.
I drive by a struggling restaurant….opened with great hope by a family…their livelihood….and I pray.
I watch the families cavorting at the park….wonder about their stories, and I pray.
My heart softens toward a neighbor who never looks my way. I pray.
I watch the wind ripple the lake…feel thankful for the summers of joy it’s given my children…think about all the people who will flock its beaches soon, and I pray.
I pick up a few pieces of rogue trash on my lawn, blown by the wind on garbage day…..consider the ways my life is entwined with the residents, the laborers, the business owners of the city….and I pray.