Liberating cities

What does it take to liberate our cities from darkness?

Increasingly, Christians are realizing that they must pray and work together to help advance the kingdom of God in our cities.

Clearly, fighting among ourselves or going it alone isn’t making much of a dent in our society today.

The proportion of believing Christians in North America is gradually declining.  Abortion and other social ills are spreading.

I have become involved in a small way in a city-wide prayer network which is part of a group of Christian pastors and other leaders reaching out to the community.

Our city is one of many where Christians are banding together to bring the light and love of Christ to those around them.

This is not a movement to bring everyone under one denomination.  It is simply acknowledgement that we share a commitment to Christ and his mission to go into all the world and make disciples and destroy the works of the evil one.

In our city, there have long been outreach efforts to specific groups of people such as the homeless.  But now there is a growing acknowledgement that we need to become much more actively involved in meeting needs – and we’re starting to do it together.

Last January, a number of churches planned a week-long series of prayer gatherings where people prayed for our city and our country.  We met together and prayed together.

It’s a step forward.

With this in mind, I have been reading a book I bought years ago – The House of the Lord, by Francis Frangipane, senior pastor of The River of Life Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Cedar Rapids is a city of more than 100,000 people.  Like most other North American cities, crime was rising in the late 1980s when a number of churches in the city started praying together.

At a time when crime rates rose 11 per cent in the state of Iowa, they declined by 17 per cent in Cedar Rapids.  In the year 1988-89, FBI statistics indicated Cedar Rapids was the safest city in the U.S.

“When the church is obedient to Christ,” writes Frangipane, “it will be united with other believers and unstoppable by the powers of hell.  Through the church -its prayer, love and actions – the Lord will guard the city.”

“If we work together to build the house of the Lord,” he continues, “our strengths will be amplified rather than diminished.”

I’m convinced he’s right.

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