And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace, you will have peace (Jeremiah 29:7).
This verse is part of a letter that Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile in Babylon. These are people who were torn from their homes and had lost possessions, and some had likely lost loved ones. The word the Lord sent to them was to settle down in Babylon and to seek the peace of the city where they found themselves and to pray for that city.
As citizens of the United States, we are not a people who have been carried into exile, and we have enjoyed amazing freedom and prosperity for generations. However, the cities in which we live need as much prayer as did the cities of ancient Babylon. In fact, it could be that the need for city-wide prayer has never been greater than it is now as traditional values are continually challenged and churches are coming under greater scrutiny.
Many of our churches have an annual prayer focus. For some it is a sermon series on prayer. For others it involves special prayer meetings. Some of our churches plan a week of 24/7 prayer annually, and some of those have extended beyond a week. Churches have seen lives changed in that week of prayer. Certainly, the culture of prayer has grown.
What might happen if the churches of your community covered the city in 24/7 prayer from now until Jesus comes?
On August 13th of 1727 a group of 300 Moravians under the leadership of Count Zinzendorf experienced a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, called the Moravian Pentecost. After this outpouring of the Spirit of God, the Lord spoke to Zinzendorf from Leviticus 6:13 that the “fire should never go out on the altar.” They began a prayer vigil that continued night and day, 24/7, for 100 years. Zinzendorf organized 24 men and 24 women who would each take one hour a day to pray for God’s people and the mission endeavors of the Moravians.
What might happen if 30 churches united together in prayer, and each church committed to covering the city in prayer for one 24-hour period? If there aren’t 30 churches willing to make the commitment, could 15 churches each commit to covering the city in prayer two days each month?
Many of us have been praying for revival in America. All revivals are birthed in prayer. We live in a time of great division and confusion. What if churches united in prayer for their cities? Is it possible that God would bring healing and peace to our cities and revival to the nation? Could it be that if churches united in prayer, we would see a multiplication of disciples? Could it be that God would begin to use His people to address the social and justice needs in the nation?
It is easy to wring our hands and spout our frustrations about social issues, moral decline, political divide, and a host of other issues. However, we know the One who can solve all of those issues. Pray for the city in which you live. Unite with others in praying for the city. Wait and see what the Lord will do.