Day 36 – PRAYING FOR MEMPHIS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2017
“always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20)
Most Memphians have come to love the Memphis Grizzlies’ “Growl Towels” – those yellow towels given out at Grizzlies playoff games over the past 7 years. My favorite one they did was the one they gave out in May 2015, when the Growl Towel read, “Memphis vs. Errrbody.”
It was great, in part because that’s how it feels most of the time, doesn’t it? After moving to Memphis, it didn’t take me long to get sick of the lists. You know the ones I’m talking about: the national lists that usually emphasize the poverty and crime in Memphis and thus declare Memphis as one of the “worst” somethings: a bad city to live in or a bad place to visit. It often feels like much of the country – much of our own state, in fact – seems to enjoy pointing out the problems here in our city.
Jeremiah 29:7 has become the theme verse for our annual “Praying for Memphis Sunday.” In Jeremiah 29, God is telling the Israelite exiles in Babylon that they will be there for 70 years. Only after those 70 years would the people return to rebuild Jerusalem. God’s instructions to them? Even though you’re not home yet, seek the good of the city you are living in, and pray that God will bless it, because as the city prospers, God’s people would prosper as well.
Our lives have brought us all here, together in the Memphis area, at this time and place. We are not in exile (and we are not in the worst city in America either), but we are not home yet. We could either get depressed about all our community’s problems – and there are plenty we are all concerned about – OR we could begin trying to help seek the good of our city. And a great first place to start: making sure Memphis is on our prayer list. God is the ultimate source of hope for all of us, and He is the ultimate hope for our city as well. Let’s pray that God would bless it, and that He would use us to shine His light of hope.
Dear Lord, help us to remember that hope for both our lives & our community is ultimately in you. God, please bless the city of Memphis. Bless the souls that struggle in poverty. Bless the kids that begin life with so much against them. Bless the families torn apart by violence & drugs. Please work in our city to bring about more peace & prosperity. Please work in our city to bring about a revival of faith in You. Please use Great Oaks, & please use our lives, to be light and salt in bringing the hope of Christ to the many souls here that need to see Your love. In Jesus name, Amen.