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Ash Wednesday is only a couple of days away, and the annual Seek God for the City campaign is about to begin.  Please join me in asking God to bring honor to himself in our neighborhoods, in our cities, and around the world.  I invite anyone to post prayers for their neighbors, cities, etc.

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Day 12 - Sunday, Feb. 25

Father, please draw to yourself all in our city whose hearts have been touched by your word.  Lead those who have heard the gospel but have not yet made a decision to follow you down the path of giving their lives to you.  Don't let their hearts be hard, stony, or thorny - protect them from all the deceptions of the evil one that would blind them to the truth of your love and their need for salvation.  Place a sense of urgency in the minds of those who are on the fence.  Use even Dr. Graham's passing to drive home the reality that we will all spend eternity somewhere, and to lead people to repent and to receive your love and forgiveness.

Lord God, we are once again reeling from a mass school shooting in which lives were taken and others changed forever.  Forgive us for seeking political solutions to spiritual problems.  We confess and believe, Lord, that only your work in the hearts of our youth will stem the tide of violence.  Please lead our youth not in the paths of temptation, but deliver them from the evil one - in the forms of drugs, gangs, violence, sex, and so many other self-destructive ways.  Raise up mentors for Christian youth to help them navigate these difficult years.  Empower parents, teachers, and others to share your wisdom in a way that will be relevant and meaningful.  Protect our youth from relationships that will lead them down destructive paths, and instead grant them meaningful friendships with others who know you and are living for you.

Proclaim your name, Lord, in all the unreached places of Afghanistan, American Samoa, Antarctica, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, and Cambodia. May your word penetrate all the barriers - social, geographic, religious, economic, cultural - to reach into every tribe, every village, every town.  Draw to yourself entire households so that families may together worship you and proclaim your name.  Raise up disciple-making movements in each of these countries that will multiply through many generations, bringing glory to you where you are not currently known.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Isaiah 55:6; Matthew 13:15; Psalm 144:12, 15

Day 13 - Monday, Feb. 26

Father, we praise you that you long to show compassion and grace.  You are a god of justice and of mercy, of holiness and of forgiveness.  Only in you could those things be perfectly balanced!  Please draw to yourself the prodigals in our community, those who have wandered far from you and find themselves in a spiritually "foreign land".  Remind them of your love and run out to meet them as they return to you.  Strengthen the hearts of parents who long for their children to turn from paths of waywardness and return home.

Lord, you demonstrated many times during your earthly ministry your compassion for the sick.  You touched the untouchable, cured the incurable, and forgave those who were living lives far from you.  Do this all over again in our city, Lord!  Touch the lives of those who are suffering.  Use their time of infirmity and weakness to draw them to lean into your strength. Cause them to long for the hope that only you can offer.  Bring healing - both physical and spiritual.  Strengthen the hands of caregivers and families who are caring for the sick.  Give to us wisdom to understand the conditions of those we care for.

Father, we lift up to you today China, Taiwan, Christmas Island, the Cocos Islands, Cook Islands, and Fiji.  In places where your church is persecuted, Lord, raise your hand on behalf of your people.  Grant to your persecuted church hope, peace, and hearts of forgiveness for their persecutors.  In places where your word has not penetrated, raise up workers for those harvest fields.  In places where your church has grown complacent, renew her with a passion and zeal to follow you closely and to proclaim your name to those who are far from you.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Isaiah 30:18-19; Luke 15:20; Matthew 14:14

Day 14 - Tuesday, Feb. 27

Father, you are the God who can do the impossible.  It's impossible for the lost to save themselves, impossible for us to save them, impossible for false religions to save them.  But you are the God of the impossible.

Raise up your church in our city to pray for the impossible on behalf of our unsaved neighbors, family, friends, and coworkers.  Teach us to call on you to do what only you can do in their hearts, and then lead us in acts of caring and sharing the gospel with them.  Prepare the hearts of the lost in our community to hear and receive the gospel, to know you as the God of love and forgiveness that you are.

Father, please bless the women in our city with an understanding of their great worth in your sight.  Protect them from the lies of those who would have them believe that they have to do certain things, act a certain way in order to be fulfilled.  Instead, lead them to find their fulfillment in you.  Protect women and girls from exploitation of all kinds - whether through human trafficking and prostitution on one extreme or simple job discrimination on the other.  Grant women the grace of following your leading without concern for the opinions of others - whether that be a career in the marketplace, a career at home raising their children, or some combination of the two.  And please protect the pregnant women in our society from the lies of the evil one regarding the life that you have created inside them - give them wisdom and compassion to care for that life as a gift from you.

Lord Jesus, may your name be proclaimed and may you be worshiped throughout French Polynesia, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Kiribati.  Strengthen your church in the face of increasing persecution in India especially.  Reveal yourself through dreams and visions to Hindus and Muslims alike in that great country, and cause them to seek you.  Change the direction of the government toward increase Hindu extremism.  Raise up leadership in India who know you and who will lead out of servanthood and with hearts of righteousness and integrity.  Strengthen your church in the midst of persecution there and fill believers' hearts with forgiveness and grace toward their persecutors.

For your sake, Amen.

Day 15 - Wednesday, Feb. 28

Father, please place a hunger and thirst to know you in the hearts and minds of non-believers in our city.  Show them the emptiness of life without you.  Cause them to seek real purpose and meaning, and bring in them a sense of disillusionment with seeking after only what the world can offer.  Work through difficult or trying circumstances, through uncertainty, through grief and loss to help people see the importance of a life lived for you and an eternity to be lived with you.

Please draw back to yourself the prodigals who have wandered far from you.  Remind them of your love, and cause them to long for that love all over again.  Bring into their lives people or circumstances that move them back in the direction of coming home to you.

Lord God, please take hold of the hearts and minds of members of media in our city and throughout the country.  Cause them to desire truth and to put aside personal and corporate agendas as they report.  Draw them to know you and to carry out their work  in righteousness and integrity.  Restore a sense of responsibility among our media, all the way to the executives at the top of each media company.

May your word spread and your church thrive in North and South Korea, in Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, the Marshall Islands, and Micronesia.  In particular, please raise your hand on behalf of your people in North Korea.  Change the trajectory of this country and its leadership; change the hearts of the country's leaders and if they continue to reject you, please raise up in their place new leadership who know you and who will rule in integrity and with hearts of servanthood.  Show your power on behalf of your persecuted church in North Korea, that you might be known throughout the country as the One True God and might be worshiped as you deserve.  Strengthen the bodies and spirits of those who are even now tortured and imprisoned for their faith there; give them hope and a sense of joy that no circumstances can take away.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Psalm 107:4-6, 8-9; Luke 15:17-18; Zechariah 8:16

Day 16 - Thursday, March 01

Lord Jesus, please call out of spiritual sleep the many who are far from you in our community.  Wake them up to their need for you.  Break the chains of addiction, of impure relationships, of bad habits, and lead people out of that darkness into life.  Break the power of gangs by showing their members that what they really need is your love, not the tainted and self-serving "love" of those they call brothers.  Call those who are trapped - whether of their own making or not - in lifestyles devoid of hope and righteousness out of those lives and into a newness of life that only you can provide.

Thank you, God, for all the people you have called and placed in positions of agriculture to feed not only our country but so many around the world.  Bless the work of their hands.  Protect their health and through the miracles that you daily perform in nature, draw them into your presence.  Please protect migrant workers and others who may be treated unjustly; hear their cries and change their situations so that they may know and serve you in dignity.  Provide for their needs and the needs of their families, and empower your church to reach out to them with your word.

May your name soon be proclaimed throughout the nations of Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, and Norfolk Island.  Send forth missionaries to every unreached people group in these countries.  Raise up Bible translators for all the languages that still need your word translated.  Raise up persons of peace in every tribe and village, who will be open and responsive to the gospel as the Samaritan woman at the well was, and who will be able to influence others for you.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Psalm 107:17-20; John 5:25; Deuteronomy 16:15

Day 17 - Friday, March 02

Lord Jesus, you came to set the captives free, and you freed people from so many different kinds of bondage - bondage to sin, bondage to infirmity, bondage to evil spirits.  Today we ask you to vanquish the power of the evil one in our communities and to free those who are oppressed and even possessed by demons and demonic influence.  Only you have the power to free them, Lord - please cause them to long to be free and then bring the truth of your word to them, so that the truth may set them free.  Be honored in the lives of those who once reviled and cursed you, so that your name may be known and praised among the multitudes.

You made clear when you were here how much the children mean to you, Lord.  Please protect, nurture, and grow the children in our community and city to know you.  Shield them from evil and from those who would harm them.  Protect their paths from dangerous friendships, relationships, and activities.  Bring stability, peace, and love in families that desperately need your touch.  Grant to each child a good education and most of all bring them to the truth of the Gospel, so that they may know you.

May the unreached in the Northern Mariana Islands, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, and the Solomon Islands soon hear of your love and grace and come to know you.  In particular, please bring an end to the violence and persecution in the Philippines.  Strengthen your church in the face of evil; strengthen the faith of those who have faced persecution for your sake.  Raise up your church as an agent of transformation throughout the Philippines, so that evil will once for all be expelled from there.  Demonstrate your power to the terrorists, and cause them to change their paths, just like you did for Saul on the road to Damascus.

For the sake of your glory. Amen.

Psalm 110:2-3; Luke 10:17-20; Mark 10:14

Day 18 - Saturday, March 03

Thank you, Father, for new believers in our city.  Thank you for calling them and revealing yourself to them.  Thank you for those who faithfully shared the Gospel with them, and for churches to welcome them into the family.  Please grant to these new believers a sense of their new lives in you.  Make them over in your image so that your love and grace become evident to family, friends, coworkers, neighbors.  Give them boldness to share their newfound faith and grow them in the knowledge of you.  Work in new ways in and through their lives, so that your name may be known even more widely in our community.

Please sustain and grow the pastors of churches in our city.  Keep them from temptation and protect them from all evil.  Refresh them with renewed sense of your presence and with passion for the work to which you have called them.  Encourage them and grant fruit to the ministries you have given them.  Grant them fellowship with each other and don't let divisions come between them; rather, unify them in the pursuit of your glory throughout our city.

Send forth your word to every people group in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tovalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and Wallis and Futuna.  Raise up translators to bring your word into every as yet untranslated language in these countries.  Open doors for the gospel to be spoken, and raise up workers for these harvest fields.  Free those who are in spiritual darkness in these countries.  Give them hearts that long to know you.  Hasten the day when people from every group in these countries names you as their God and when your church is established in each group.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Isaiah 12:1-3; Mark 5:19; 1 Peter 5:2, 7

Day 19 - Sunday, March 04

Father, please restore hope in our cities where it is so needed.  Bring peace to neighborhoods racked by violence.  Provide for communities mired in poverty.  And more than anything, turn the hearts of our cities back to you.  Through your church and through your people, proclaim your word in our cities so that lives may be turned to you.  Through both word and deed, empower your people to share the Gospel in ways that bring hope and salvation.  Send us to our neighborhoods, communities and cities, just as Jesus went from town to town and just as the disciples were sent.

Father, please intervene on behalf of the unemployed in our city.  Open doors of opportunity for meaningful work.  Match jobs and workers in a way that brings glory to you.  For those who are currently unemployed, please don't let them wrap their identities up in their work or lack of it.  Convince them of their value in your sight, and bring their hearts to a place of openness to the Gospel.

As we focus on Africa this week, we pray for the advancement of your kingdom across Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, and the Cape Verde Islands.  Where there is worship of false gods in these countries, proclaim the truth of your word in a way that liberates people from bondage.  Demonstrate your power over evil spirits and over all the religions that force worship out of fear.  Empower your church in each of these countries with a passion and vision for reaching every people group with the Gospel, and raise up persons of peace in each group who will be open to your word.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Isaiah 61:1, 3-4; Luke 4:43; Ecclesiastes 3:13

Day 20 - Monday, March 05

Father, please free your people in our communities and cities from the seductive power of wealth.  We know from your word that we cannot serve both you and money; and yet, Lord, we strive to keep one foot in each world.  Forgive us for putting material comforts ahead of the advancement of your kingdom.  Pour out a fresh spirit of joyous generosity within your church, so that your name may be glorified through the outreach of your people.

Please correct systems in our cities that unjustly keep people in poverty.  Give to our leaders wisdom to fix a welfare system that creates dependence and results in generational poverty, that sees the poor only as a vote on a ballot.  Resource your church to step in and provide both eternal hope and material help.

Thank you, Lord, for the testimony of athletes who know you and are not afraid to bring you glory through their accomplishments and in their words.  Please give to Christian athletes at all levels courage to speak of you and lives that testify of your goodness and grace.  Work through campus ministries to athletes, such as Athletes IV, to spread your word and save many who are lost.  Protect student athletes from exploitation by those who look only to make money off of them, and bring to justice those who are taking advantage of athletes for their own gain.  We especially pray for female student athletes in the wake of recent revelations of abuses - for your healing, for your protection, that you will bring justice and repentance to those who have abused girls and women in the athletic field.

Revive your church, Lord, throughout the Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Code d'Ivoire, and Djibouti.  Purify your church from any false doctrine and any syncretism or compromise with traditional religions.  Transform your people and make your church an agent of transformation in society in each of these countries.  May your name be glorified as your church fulfills her mission in each of these places.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Isaiah 57:17-18; Luke 19:7-9; 1 Chronicles 29:11-12

Day 21 - Tuesday, March 06

Father, please provide hope for those in our city who live in poverty and who are unable to meet their own basic needs.  Raise up your church to provide help in whatever form it's needed.  Give political leaders in our city and state wisdom to dismantle and change systems that promote injustice and poverty.  Most of all, meet the poor where they are, and cause them to hunger and thirst for you.  Give them a hope that goes beyond the next meal but that lasts into eternity.

Restore family relationships in our city.  Bring reconciliation between children and parents, between spouses.  Change the trajectory of entire households by drawing them to you, as you did with the jailer in Philippi.

Thank you, Lord, for the work of Christian parachurch ministries in our city, on our campuses, in our country.  Please grant them wise leadership; protect their leaders from temptation and all kinds of evil; make them wise stewards of the resources you have given them, and bring fruit from their ministries.  Use them to strengthen your Church, to spread the gospel, to care for the needy.  Raise up the workers they need and the financial support needed to fund the ministries you have given them.

Spread your word, Lord, throughout Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau.  Raise up workers to take your word to every tribe and village, and bring fruit from the preaching of your word.  Lead people to put behind them the old ways of fear, superstition, and false religion, and to put on new life in Jesus.  Strengthen your church in the midst of persecution in Eritrea and Ethiopia.  Bring peace to these war-torn countries - peace that's more than just the absence of war but that includes justice for all.  May your name be revered throughout all these countries, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Psalm 113:5-9; Matthew 9:36; 2 Thessalonians 3:1

Day 22 - Wednesday, March 07

Father, we confess that our cities, our communities, our nation have wandered far from the truth of your word.  It seems that we've been given over to lies and that we're so accustomed to falsehood that we no longer expect integrity from our leaders, from our media, from people in influential positions.  Agendas have trumped truth - and all because we've lost our grip on the ultimate Truth - the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Forgive us, Lord.

Please bring renewal - first, in your church; then, in government, education, the media, and the arts.  Free us from enslavement to the opinions of men, from political correctness run amok, from the godlessness of those who would take you out of all of life.  Redirect us back to the path of truth and integrity.  Enable your church to stand clearly for truth; give her a prophetic voice in our society that will turn people's hearts and minds to you and draw us to repentance.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your compassion for prisoners.  Thank you that you do not give up on those who have made bad decisions and have wandered far from your path; if you did, who of us could have turned to you?  Please watch over prisoners whose release time is coming soon; prepare for them paths and relationships that will guide them away from the evil that led them to where they are.  Protect them from the people and activities that led to prison in the first place; lead them not into temptation, but deliver them from evil.  Please reach into jails and prisons across our cities and communities with the truth of your love, grace, and forgiveness.  Save prisoners from the lie that they've strayed too far - instead, raise up believers to share the gospel with them.  Save them through your grace.  Provide for their families and protect their families from the evil that they participated in.  Bring new life - both spiritual and temporal.

Hasten the day, Lord, when your word spreads to every people group in Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, and Mauritius.  Break down the barriers in each of these countries that keep your word from the lost.  Raise up persons of peace in every village, even every household, who will be open and receptive to your word.  Send workers to each village as you sent out the disciples, and bring much fruit from the proclamation of your word.

For the sake of your glory. Amen.

Isaiah 59:14-16; Matthew 22:16; Psalm 69:32-33

Day 23 - Thursday, March 08

Father, we confess that we have often misrepresented the cause and the grace of the gospel through our violence, our defensiveness, our spirits of revenge toward those who mistreat us.  You call us to a different life than that, so that your grace may be known among the lost.  Please forgive our attitudes that are centered around ourselves rather than being focused on you.  Renew in us a spirit of joy, of peace, of forgiveness and reconciliation.  By the power of your Spirit, repair the damage we have done and draw back to yourself those we may have offended.

In particular, please break the cycles of persecution in which even your church persecutes believers for differing doctrines.  Convict those who lead such persecution and violence and bring them to repentance.  Lord, you said that your church would be known by its love and its unity - bring unity and peace in places like Mexico, where organized religion is the major source of persecution of believers - even religion that claims to be in your name.  

Please bring the hope of the gospel to those in our city who are depressed.  Bless those who mourn with your presence and peace and comfort.  Bring physical and mental healing to those who suffer from depression, and restore a sense of purpose.  Convince them of their worth in your eyes, and draw them by your grace into a saving relationship with Jesus.

Purify and strengthen your church in Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, and Reunion.  Grow your church in love, in unity, and in the knowledge of you.  May your church in each of these countries know how wide and long and high and deep is your love, to the point where believers cast off all former false religions completely and give themselves totally to you.  Raise your hand on behalf of the persecuted church in Nigeria.  Break once and for all the hold of terror from Boko Haram; bring this organization down by drawing its leaders to yourself and leading them to abandon their violent and criminal ways.  Please protect the lives of the girls and women who have been kidnapped and return them safely and speedily to their families.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Jonah 3:8-9; Luke 22:50-51; 2 Corinthians 7:6

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