Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:5-7)
This passage is part of a letter written by Jeremiah to God's people who were in exile in Babylon. The people were hearing many voices about how to handle their exile. Some said the exile would end soon, in two years. There was the temptation to be isolated from the city. And there was the temptation to compromise and to become like the city. But Jeremiah urged a better way. Establish a presence in the city, building houses and raising families. Pray for the peace of the city, and seek its welfare.
We, too, are exiles, according to 1 Peter 2:11-12. "Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul. Keep you conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation."
Today, let's pray for the neighborhoods and work environments where God has placed us. Let's pray for the peace and welfare of the city.
- Pray for those doing "good deeds" in the name of Christ: Elevate Orlando, 306 Foundation, Grace Clinic, Jobs Partnership, Women's Dress for Success, Second Harvest, and others.
- Pray for all of the churches in the city who are preaching the gospel. Pray that churches will flourish and be a blessing to the city. Pray for new church plants, such as Christ United Fellowship, where Mike and Lucy Aitcheson are planting.
- Pray for the people in your neighborhood, your part of the city. Pray for the Spirit to work in hearts, and for common ground relationships with our neighbors.
- Pray for the teachers, students, and families at Glenridge Middle School, where we worship. Pray for those kids who are from homeless families.
- Pray for the people of Lake Baldwin Church who are working in jobs all across our city. Pray that their quality of work and love for people will be "salt and light" in the city.
- As we live among the people of our city, pray that God will give us the heart of Jesus, who looked on the multitudes and felt compassion for them.