I was at a Pastor's conference last week and had the opportunity to sit under the teaching of Vance Pittman from Las Vegas, Nevada. He talked about arriving in Las Vegas about 14 years ago with the intention of planting a church. He didn't know anyone in the city and had never even seen it before he moved there with his family. Going into a city known for it's immorality, where there is very little consciousness of God, with the intention of planting a church was daunting to say the least.
They started by praying. They walked the streets of every residential area and prayed for the people in each house in the entire city of Las Vegas over the space of several years. They regularly visited key areas of the city and interceded for the people in the city. They found other believers and prayed with them.
Soon a trickle of people began to come and eventually the trickle turned into a flood. Today they have a church of over 4000 people in one of the least likely places in the country. They have made huge advances into the kingdom of darkness around them and seen many people set free by the power of the gospel. In light of the recent shooting there; they are again positioned to advance the gospel in their city.
I had to wonder what our community would be like if the believers became that intentional about interceding for the people around them. What if we believed that our prayers made the difference? What if we cared enough about our neighbors to beg God for their freedom?
This week I read a devotional that spoke to the same issue. (I have it added below)
I'm asking God to place the kind of passion and burden on my heart that moves me to pray and care for the people around me!
Will you join me?
Devotional from Brooklyn Tabernacle:
“But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 GNT)
The Holy Spirit was sent to accomplish many divine purposes, but at the top of the list was the empowering of God’s people to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Notice Christ’s words: “But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, emphasis added).
If we lose sight of God’s heart of love for the world – including our own cities and neighborhoods – we will experience little of the Spirit’s power, since we are on a different page than our Lord is on. But whenever we reach out with purpose to share the good news of salvation through Christ; whenever we are determined to help the spiritually blind see and to set the oppressed free, we can prayerfully expect the Holy Spirit to work in power as promised by Jesus.
- Pastor Cymbala (excerpted and adapted from Spirit Rising)