Editor’s note: As we pray this July for cities, we share this guide from a Chinese prayer warrior on how to develop a heart for your city through prayer walks. She encourages us not to view our city with a consumerist mentality, but to see the city with God’s eyes and to seek to bless the place where we live.
In the last two years, city churches and all of us living in this generation have experienced a lot of pain and suffering. The suppression, confinement, fear, despair, anxiety, and lack brought about by both natural and man-made disasters have also made God’s people feel tired and powerless. Although complaint and depression may accompany us at times, in Christ, hope and pursuit of the Lord are also real and visible.
We take the things we have for granted, and a consumerist mindset leads us to complain about our city. It is easy for us to become angry at the injustice happening in our cities, and sometimes we wish to escape. But when we practice prayer walking in the city, this is all reversed. Instead of viewing our city as something to consume for ourselves, in prayer walking, we repent, revive, and bless our cities.
Begin a prayer walk by reflecting on the city’s connection to God’s heart.
First, how would you describe your relationship with the city?
Is your relationship caring, or indifferent? Active, or passive? Do you participate in the city, or isolate? Are you involved, or distant? Appreciated, or ignored?
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Second, how do you relate to your neighborhood and community?
The realities of urban life challenge us to connect meaningfully with our cities.
Third, lift up the following areas:
-Essential needs: social, political, economic, and spiritual
-Important streets and intersections
-Influential cultural infrastructure, such as businesses, public services, schools, art galleries, theaters, media, etc.
-That churches and Christians will be good neighbors who love and serve their city
-People: friends, neighbors, co-workers, city workers, residents, by-passers, and important personnel within the city
-Peace and safety: for protection from crime, conflicts, and riots
-Begin any prayer walk with a prayer of praise, remembering who ultimately owns the city
Then begin the actual prayer walk. Pray for God to:
· Root us in the community where we live, work, and socialize
· Pull us out of the small circle of our church and place us in the wider field in the world
· Open our eyes so we may see and appreciate the beauty, grace, and glory of God in the city
· Connect our plans to God’s will
· Create opportunities to open hearts to the gospel
· Pray to transform neighborhoods into areas served by the church
· Call believers to be missionaries
· Change the church into a crossroads of heavenly renewal
· Ask God to lead your prayers so that you can see things as he sees them
· Repent of fear, weakness, and lack of concern for “outsiders”
· Ask God to give you insight into his good plan for the city, and that you might participate in that plan
· Pray that God would open doors and opportunities for you to love and serve the people of this community
· Pray that God would give you the courage to love your neighbors as Jesus did
· Pray for revival
We pray that you would give those in authority the humility and wisdom to make policy in a proper way, to do good with their God-given authority, and not to treat people violently. We pray that every Christian will be light and salt in his or her own city, so that the evil of human nature might not continue to deepen and magnify, and ordinary people might not kill each other. May people see the living testimony of the gospel and be drawn to it with peace and joy.
Lord, your will is higher than our will, and your ways are higher than our ways. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Sister Bao En (a pseudonym) lives in a city in southern China. She loves to pray and to share the vision of prayer with others.
FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION
Pray for Chinese believers to develop God’s heart toward the city.