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Praying For Your City - Part 1

The church can only move forward on her knees.

“Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused,”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

If we are going to learn to pray for our communities, most of us must learn how to pray for a city.

The majority of the world’s population lives in cities. In a recent news article I recently read the following statistics were given.

“Today, around 55 percent of the world's population is thought to be living in an urban area or city, with that figure set to rise to 68 percent over the coming decades. Two-thirds of the world's population will be living in cities by 2050.”

If we are not concerned about the cities of our nation, we are not concerned with that which touches the heart of God.

There are many examples of prayer for cities in the Bible. We recall:

• Abraham praying for Sodom and Gomorrah, particularly that his nephew, Lot, might be spared.

• Then we recall Jonah sitting outside the city of Nineveh praying judgment upon the people. The Lord sent a plant to protect him from the heat, and he was delighted with this small comfort. But when a worm was sent to cut the plant down, Jonah was angry. The Lord was trying to show him how easy it is to become concerned about one’s private comfort and have no compassion for people. Despite Jonah’s prejudice and nearsightedness, God sent a great revival to the city of Nineveh.

• And then we think of Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem. Even today, Jerusalem is a city where the name of Christ is not honored. Jesus wept over the city, prayed there, and yet the city experienced the judgment of God.

Perhaps we will not see the answers we like, but a city with praying people will be a city that will receive blessing from the Lord....or ultimate judgment if they refuse the Grace of God. Now in Chattooga County, most people do not live within the city limits.

The population of Chattooga County, GA is 24,770 (City of Summerville = 4320 and Trion = 2481).

The Association of Religious Data Archives collects statistics on churches and church attendance. Their data at present is using 2010 population data (25,952). New data is hopefully coming out very soon. In 2010, it was recorded that out of the total population (25,952), approximately 12,417 (47%) claimed adherence to and attendance at a church in Chattooga County. I find this statistic to be outside of the reality of my experience with this community. If that figure were true, it would tell us that each church in Chattooga County (in 2010) would have had, on average, about 155 people (the statisticians are using 80 as the number of churches).

According to my knowledge of this community (I have been here about 7 years) that number for churches is probably not accurate. The number of churches in this county is probably closer to 60, but let’s split the difference and arrive at 70 churches in Chattooga County. This would mean that, on average, each church, in 2010, would have had about 177 people on any given Sunday. Does anyone reading this believe those numbers to be accurate? No, the reality is far from this (especially now when the population is less - 24,789, and we have had two years of attendance killing Covid)!

This website, referenced above, also records that those who are unclaimed / unchurched (in 2010) would therefore be about 13,598 (52%). Again, new statistics should be out soon, but the percentage of unchurched people is probably much higher today.

With this information as a foundation, let us begin to think about the Plight of our city, and who is attempting to call the shots. The Bible teaches that the enemy of souls is the Devil, along with his hosts (Consider Matthew 13:25-39; II Corinthians 11:3, 13-15). Satan personally remains invisible, but he is constantly in combat in Summerville trying to hold people in the grip of sin, despair, and emotional / spiritual confusion. He is manifesting himself strongly today in our society (through atheistic, communistic, humanistic, and evolutionary philosophies, unbiblical religions, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual perversions, etc.), but still people cannot see him.

Come back next week and we will speak more about this arch-enemy of the souls in Chattooga County and what to do about him.

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