cityprayer | salvation

Image credit: Eyetoeye Design / iStockphoto
Image credit: Eyetoeye Design / iStockphoto

This is the third post in a six part series on using the Lord’s prayer to pray for our cities.

Forgive us our debts…

Each person’s greatest need is to have a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Until that happens, however, people will always find a way to worship created things rather than the Creator.

By understanding both what and how the people in your city or neighborhood worship, you will be able to pray more specifically, communicate needs more clearly, and more effectively point people to Jesus.

Sample research questions:

  • What are the historic religious beliefs and practices of the people in your neighborhood or city?
  • What are their current beliefs and practices?
    • Do these practices vary among different geographic or demographic groups?
    • If so, how?
  • To what degree are historic beliefs and practices part of current beliefs and practices?

Action Steps:

  1. Use the results of your research to describe 3-5 false beliefs and the ways in which they are manifested.
  2. Suggest ways for people to pray – that is, what specific truths of God can directly combat these spiritual lies?

Feel free to leave a comment to share what you are learning.

3 thoughts on “cityprayer | salvation

  1. A very interesting set of questions you raise here indeed!
    I have been slowly reading “The Divine Commodity” by Skye Jethani. (It is the book I keep in the car to make the most of the time while I am waiting for people in my chauffer role.) A note of resonance struck between the first action point you raised, “describe 3-5 false beliefs and the ways in which they are manifested.” and a point Jethani makes in his book.
    On page 37 he cites the conclusions of a sociologist, Christian Smith, from Notre Dame who studied the faith of American Teenagers. Smith concludes that the faith of most teenagers is best described as MTD: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.
    Smith further explains.
    “By ‘moralistic’ I mean being good and nice…. By ‘therapeutic; I mean being primarily concerned with one’s own happiness in contrast with glorifying God, learning obedience, or serving others. Finally be ‘deism’ I mean a view of God as normally distant and not involved in one’s life, except if one has a problem one needs God to solve. In other words, God functions as a combination divine butler and cosmic therapist.”
    Finally Smith concludes that the faith of most American adults could be described at MTD as well. So there are the three false beliefs: MTD.
    How do they manifest themselves? Jethani observes: “Most people … view God as a devise to be used rather than an all-powerful Creator to be revered. This also explains our abundant and careless words about him. … The God of consumer Christianity does not inspire awe and wonder because he is nothing more than a commodity to be used for our personal satisfaction and self-achievement.” It also seems that in order to show that faith is relevant in the 21st century; speakers have taken a very pragmatic approach to show how practicing biblical principles can make one successful, prosperous, guilt free, witty, winsome human being, in short, “good and nice.” Is it any wonder that people reach the conclusion in their faith formation that “It is all about me”?
    Suggest ways for people to pray – There are several passages from the Bible that offer models of how to pray. A couple of particularly relevant ones are: John 16, “conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment”; 2 Corinthians 10, “demolishing speculations that raise themselves up against the knowledge of God”; and Philippians 3:8-10, “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection…” In response to prayers along these lines, God might draw near and make himself known.

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    1. Thanks, Russ, for the great example of using research to identify specific Scriptures to use in prayer for – in this case – the salvation of Americans! Just as Jesus countered Satan with Scripture (Matthew/Luke 4), we can use the Scriptures you highlighted to counter the lies of Satan that are prevalent in the US culture – and that is one way I will be applying what you wrote.
      ~ Kirk

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