Lord of cities, towns, suburbs and rural areas, You are the Lord of all and I praise You.
Read Acts 14:21-28
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Cities; so often rich in buildings but poor in soul, high in crime but low in morale, a playground for some but a nightmare for many, a gateway to a nation but road’s end for those too tired to get up and try again” (Ernest T. Campbell).
During their missionary journey much of the apostles’ time was spent in urban settings. Today’s passage starts with “they preached the Gospel in that city” and then goes on to describe them retracing their steps to the same three Galatian centers they’d visited on their outward journey. They had planted churches in those cities and, despite the risks, returned to strengthen the new believers. Cities were melting pots of different cultures, beliefs and practices. Centers of commerce and industry, often located on key trade routes, they drew people from the surrounding areas and were major sources of influence on contemporary life. There was obviously strategic thought behind this focus of the apostles. If the good news of the Gospel took hold in these places there was potential for it to spread widely.
We cannot afford to ignore that our world is rapidly becoming more urban. Today more than 50 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. It’s a worldwide phenomenon, with urban populations in Africa and Asia expected to double in the next three decades. Yet urban mission doesn’t feature prominently in many churches’ priorities. Sadly, it is taken for granted by many Christians that it’s better for family life to move out of the city. A retired teacher moved to London’s East End to live in a housing project to share her life with those around her. Retired friends relocated to reach women trapped in prostitution in the Mumbai slums in India. They were seen as remarkable, yet we need more people across the generations sharing God’s concern for the city (Jonah 4:11): identifying with, praying for, living in, and developing forms of mission and church that fit an urban world.
Read Jeremiah 29:7 several times, and then go through a newspaper praying for the cities featured. Ask God to help you see cities and their people as he sees them.
Loving Father, my prayer for the cities of this nation is that homes will be joyful, streets will be safe, laws just and my desire to make things right unquenchable.
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