…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance (Ephesians 6:18, ESV).
We should be praying for our cities and communities.
God will answer the prayers.
My city is an example.
In 2016, NPR (National Public Radio) wrote an article on the economy of Springfield, Ohio, which reported that the gross income of Springfield residents fell 27 percent between 1999 and 2014.
Then the article said, “More than any other metropolitan area in the country according to the Pew Research Center.” Arguably for the 15 years between 1999 and 2014, Springfield had the worst economy in the country.
While the economy was collapsing something else happened. There was a concerted prayer effort that I believe was unmatched by any other community in the country!
In 1989, 150 pastors and community leaders decided to pray for our city for one year. The one year turned into years – one day a month, over 100 church leaders met for prayer.
We prayed for four things…
- That God would return economic prosperity to our community.
- That God would bring key leaders… either by moving here or locally-inspired who had the vision and talent to lead the city in economic and spiritual revival.
- That our children would return to Springfield. That our community would be a place that would keep our youth because of the opportunities available.
- That our community would be a place of justice and peace.
Last week, I was sitting at a local coffee house, in the middle of a 30-mile bike ride, enjoying my order of a “large house roast with room for cream,” when another cyclist stopped. He was from Atlanta and was in Springfield to camp and ride the bike trails.
He told me, “This community is the best place for cycling in the country.”
My oldest daughter and her husband recently moved from Columbus, Ohio, to Springfield, Ohio. They are among many recent “move backs” that now live in Springfield. I’ve heard the term “Springfield rich” – property values 50 percent less than other areas, no traffic jams, lower property taxes, great and uncrowded public spaces.
And in my daughter and son-in-law’s situation, two grandparents to help with babysitting and rides to sports practices with their four children.
Yep, the true definition of wealth.
And all this just an hour’s drive from the “Shoe” to see The Ohio State Buckeyes. The stadium is closer (because of traffic) to western Springfield than parts of northern and eastern Columbus.
When you visit downtown Springfield, you will find dozens of young business and community leaders, many new restaurants, and free community festivals that attract thousands.
I know, I am a cheerleader for my city.
I realize there are still issues of poverty, equality, justice, and economic growth but there are highly talented groups of concerned citizens discussing and working toward solutions in all these difficulties.
There has been an amazing turn-around in Springfield, Ohio. You could describe it as a “revival.”
I believe the reason is answered prayer!