A Citywide Prayer Movement

city landscape sunset

When you think of a city where God is actively moving and doing wondrous works, what do you think of? What do you hope for God to accomplish in your city?

I have a hope and prayer for my city that looks like this: For God’s presence to be felt in the city like it feels during an outdoor worship experience where God’s joy, hope and commission is palpably tangible. I pray that nonprofits work together; local pastors be united; people chained to addiction and brokenness be set free; for Christians across the city to have the benefit of Christian co-workers “in their corner” that encourage each other to lead with integrity, conviction, and love. I pray for city-wide discipleship: for older folks to show younger folks how to follow Christ. I pray for Christians to love their neighbors so well that people are drawn to wanting to know who is Lord of their lives. I pray for children to be protected from abuse. I pray my city would be known for loving others well and for taking care of the suffering and poor in need. 

I was given the Seek God for the City prayer guide published by WayMakers. It is a daily prayer guide that leads you to pray for different parts of your city. I have prayed through half of the guide, and I am absolutely loving it! I have been challenged to pray for business sectors and people groups I have never before thought to pray for, and I have been challenged to pray in ways I would never have come up with on my own.

A few years ago, the Lord persistently prodded my heart, telling me I needed to start a prayer journal and be faithful in praying for others.  I am authentically happy I listened to the Lord and followed through. I discovered I love praying for others. I have always been inspired by places such as the International House of Prayer (IHOPKC) in Kansas City, Missouri with their 24/7 prayer room and the Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN) HOPE prayer room. I believe and trust that God moves when we petition and seek Him on behalf of ourselves and others.

His living Word gives us some of those promises and assurances that He moves and works when we petition Him:

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (ESV)

Matthew 7:7 includes this assurance as well –

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (ESV)

In 1 John 5:15, we read –

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. (ESV)

What happens when we pray for our cities? The Lord listens and lives are changed. Mountains are moved, chains are broken, obstacles are cleared, the weak are protected, and people are healed.

I have been so encouraged and give praise for the ways I have seen the churches in my city work together in recent years. I see churches in my city living out Jeremiah 29:4-7.

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, 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. (NIV)

In 2010, churches collaborated together to put on the first city-wide Good Friday service to share God’s love and joy. I remember when we used to meet at a smaller venue and at my first city-wide Good Friday service, I was so encouraged that multiple churches partnered together to put on this event. In addition to coming together to worship as a unified church body on Good Friday, there is an opportunity during the service to donate to the featured local charity. In 2013, 330 churches participated in the Explore God campaign, designed to create conversations about God among neighbors and within the city. I was happy to see billboards pop up all over Austin for this initiative and have people in my home watching the Explore God discussion videos together. Another example of the Lord moving in Austin is the founding of The Austin Disaster Relief Network. God put it on Daniel Geraci’s heart to create the Austin Disaster Relief Network in 2009. The Austin Disaster Relief Network is a network of 200 local churches and has been a crucial player in providing disaster relief with local floods, fires, hurricanes and tornadoes. During Hurricane Katrina, the City of Austin notably recognized how crucial the support of local churches was in providing relief to Louisianians flooding Austin. I also praise God a network of local pastors convene together once a month to pray for the well-being of the city!

I grew up in Austin, and most of these initiatives are less than 10 years old. It has been very evident to me the Lord is doing something in Austin and His Spirit is moving here. When Christians come together to do good for the city, God uses us to heal, provide, and reveal His unfathomable love.

I signed up with one of my local ministries to pray for Austin the 2nd Saturdays of the month. Would you commit to marking your calendars to pray once a month for your city? 

We can petition God with joy and anticipation that He will accomplish what we ask. Seek out a prayer warrior and pray together. May you be a light in your city!

“Thank you, Lord, for the city of Austin and what you’ve done and what you’re continuing to do in our city. I ask that you keep our essential employees safe as our city continues to navigate COVID. Even more fundamental, I’m asking that you move on the hearts of people across our city. Whether students at our amazing universities, professionals working in the marketplace, or the families surrounding the city – whether White, Black, Hispanic, or Asian – bring us to a unity that is based on your goodness shown in the Gospel.”

Josh Gurrero, Lead Pastor, Refuge Community Church, SouthEast Austin

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