“But 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 find your welfare.” – Jeremiah 29:7
We have both an invitation from the Lord to partner with Him, and also a biblical mandate to engage in prayer for our city (1 Timothy 2:1-4, Jeremiah 29:7).
In the Old Testament, we read how Nehemiah was moved by the account of the broken state of the wall in Jerusalem, and he responded in prayer and fasting for a number of days (Nehemiah 1:4). When he arrived in Jerusalem, he went out at night and carefully inspected the damage, taking note of the specific breaches in the wall and what needed to be done. Then he responded: “Let us arise and build” (Nehemiah 2:18).
We learn from this that we can have a considered approach in how we approach prayer for our city:
- 1. Fasting and prayer – our first response is one of turning our hearts to the Lord, and being moved to respond in partnership with Him;
- 2. Know our city and our people – we can identify and evaluate the areas of prayer focus that are specific to our city, while also intentionally connect with the people and the needs that exist;
- 3. Consider our response – prayerfully respond and put into action what the Lord shows us to do. Encourage and inspire others, and work together in unity (1 Thessalonians, 5:11, Ephesians 4:3).
KNOW WHERE WE LIVE
Take some time to study and consider the unique story and spiritual landscape of our city:
- Discover why our city was built in this location;
- Learn our history, and what the Lord might reveal as to the redemptive gift the Lord has for our city;
- Know who our civil leaders are, our social make-up, what is happening in creative arts, innovation, law and order, education, and the industry and business climate;
- Look at the specific concerns in our city, and what problems are being reported in the news or discussed in local government;
- Consider what our city is known for, and what brings people here;
Ask the Lord to send you to an area to walk the streets and pray. Observe and discern, and listen to the Holy Spirit as He leads you. Get to know the people in your neighbourhood, and pray according to what the Lord shows you.
PRAY AND TAKE ACTION
Here are some suggested starting points for your prayers:
- 1. Pray for repentance – Nehemiah repented on behalf of the sins of Israel even though they weren’t his own (Nehemiah 1, Daniel 9:1-19, 2 Chronicles 7:14);
- 2. Pray for our leaders – that they will walk in honour and humility, preferring one another, and that love would abound in fullness (Romans 12:10, Philippians 1:9);
- 3. Pray for unity – for believers to unite in seeing His kingdom come, and for a coming together across denominational lines to see our city transformed (Acts 1:14);
- 4. Pray for peace and prosperity – for the Lord to grant peace and prosperity (Jeremiah 29:7);
- 5. Pray for a prayer movement – for the Body of Christ to awaken to God’s purpose in prayer and intercession for His People (Isaiah 56:7, Isaiah 62:6-7);
- 6. Pray for the labourers for the harvest – for the Church to step into boldness and courage in bringing the kingdom into every sphere of society (Matthew 9:37-38)
- 7. Pray for the specific concerns of our city – for justice, education, industry and innovation, young people and families, the elderly, and the identity and redemptive purpose the Lord has for our city.
In Matthew 6:21 says: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” . Once you begin to connect with the heart of God towards our city and our people, you may find that it only fuels your prayer life all the more.
Become part of the answer to your prayers, and set your heart to be available and ready for any time God will use you in demonstrating His love and goodness to those around you (1 Peter 3:15).