When my wife and I moved to Indiana 15 years ago, we settled in a rural area between Terre Haute (a fair-sized city of 70,000) and Brazil (a small town of 6,000). Our workplace was in Terre Haute, and our heart was in Brazil.
Even though we left a major city to move here, our hearts quickly developed a fondness, then a love, for Brazil. We settled in a church there and started frequenting the businesses and restaurants in Brazil, even though they were often more expensive than chain stores in Terre Haute.
We took to heart Jeremiah’s charge: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (29:7). Though we weren’t in exile, we began praying for the community and supported it however we could. Beyond our church, my wife and I have also developed a relationship with a ministry in town, which we try to bless physically and financially as we can.
God loves cities! Jesus wept over Jerusalem. And there is a spiritual dynamic that defines each community. Often intercessors who spend time praying for their communities will research the history to discern that spiritual dynamic.
God’s City Prayer Movement Plan
Recently I have been fascinated by what appears to be a growing move of God as He raises up citywide prayer movements across the country. In multiple locations, communities of varying size—often without any knowledge of God’s similar move-ment in other communities—are starting to see the same things happen. Churches are starting to pray together for their cities: Bellingham, WA; Altoona, PA; Nashville, TN; and Austin, TX, are a few places where unique city prayer movements are either stirring or in full swing.
A few years ago I had the privilege to attend a gathering of national prayer leaders in Austin, and we participated in a monthly all-city prayer meeting. More than 1,000 people showed up that night for a highly focused, dynamic, prayer meeting where people cried out for revival in Austin churches and a spiritual awakening in their city. I saw tremendous unity, humility, and love displayed among Baptist, Pentecostal, and other pastors from various streams of the Church.
It inspired me so much that I soon started pursuing two leaders, Trey Kent and Kie Bowman, to write a book that would both tell about the ten-year journey of the Austin movement and show pastors how this could happen in any city.
Your city! Maybe Brazil, Indiana!
The resulting book is City of Prayer: Transform Your Community through Praying Churches. We are releasing the book this month and praying God uses it to fuel the hearts of pastors and prayer leaders across this nation. Be sure to get a copy through prayershop.org. Or get two and share one with your pastor!
Let’s love our communities through prayer.