Friday, May 25, 2007


Over a year before our weeks of non-stop prayer, I visited the prayer room at Pure Heart several times during their week of 24/7. The Lord met me each time. One of the days I was in there alone, just worshipping, listening, allowing God to speak to me through the things they had around the room, as well as the prayers, words, and pictures others had brought during the week.

They had a large cross set up, and at one point I was just kneeling in front of it, thinking of the Lord. In that moment, He gave me something I hadn't expected: a heart for the city.

I have had a heart for those who don't know Him; for the hurting; for the least and the lowest, but I can't honestly say that I had ever before had "a heart for the city" - for this city, for Phoenix, where I was born, and where my church is located.

I can't really describe what He gave me or how He gave it, it just felt like all of a sudden something became much more tangible and clearer and specific.

You never know HOW God will touch you when you come into His Presence and consciously allow Him to speak to you and minister to you. The prayer room at Pure Heart didn't have a "city station," and yet that is what God most impacted me with, His heart for this city. He used the space they had set apart, and the things they had added, to draw my heart to Him, and then spoke to me beyond what was even in front of me.

He's good like that.

Fast forward to our preparations for the week of prayer at our church. I knew all along we "had" to have a station on God's heart for the city. I had several ideas, and as time got closer I kept expecting someone, or maybe several "someones'' to come alongside me and make this station happen, as I didn't feel I would have time to on my own. So many of the other pieces I had hoped and prayed to see as part of the prayer room were coming along; but time continued to go by and this one just wasn't coming together, no matter how much I felt that it was "supposed" to or prayed that it would. I think part of me, finally, that last week of preparation, began to resign myself to the fact that it just perhaps was not going to happen.

BUT . . . at the last minute, almost literally, it came together. I had asked KT, a young woman from our church, to take some photographs for this station, months ago. And she had. I still needed some type of a structure to put them on, and a unifying theme. The structure came together in my minds eye and my husband and 16 year old son constructed it the day before the week of prayer began. It was a tall, black, two-sided free-standing board that I had them paint with black magnetic paint, which could also be written on like a chalk board.

I realized the theme had been there inside me all along -- God's heart for the lost, the hurting, the marginalized, God's love and light reaching to dark places where it was needed most. I printed off verses, as well as poems and quotes from my friend Steve's website ( - more on this later). Nathaniel, my son who helped construct the station, felt that the words, "The city is sleeping - awaken it with prayer" should be on the board. I gathered all the papers and magnets to go on it, and arranged for KT to meet me the next day with her photos, and I would arrange them and assemble the station.

It turned out that I was busy overseeing and helping the other artists and contributors as they set up their stations in the sanctuary after Sunday service, so KT pitched right in, along with my niece and some others, and after hearing my vision, totally put it all together. KT's photos were amazing, and she added other touches, like hand-lettering the saying about the city in chalk, as well as the Phoenix skyline. We also had more chalk available, as well as slips of paper and magnets, so people could add their own thoughts and prayers alongside the verses, poems, and photos.

I loved how the Lord brought it all together at the last minute, and it ended up being, as all the stations were, something that deeply impacted people, and drew their hearts to pray for others.

By the end of the two weeks the station was covered in chalk writing, and other prayers and heart-cries written on slips of paper and stuck on with magnets. One man shared how touched he was to see the words of compassion that his own young son had written in chalk on the city scape. Another young girl added her own chalk drawings of Jesus in the midst of the poems and photos reflecting pain and isolation. A woman shared the story in Sunday service of how she had spent time in the prayer room, praying for our city in front of that station. Later, as she was driving, she saw the very part of our skyline that KT had depicted in chalk on the board. The woman was so moved, she turned her car around and drove back to the church sanctuary to pray some more.

The addicted. The abused. The abusers. The lonely. The children. The elderly. The mentally ill. The bitter. The poor. The isolated. The frantic. The hopeless. The lost.

The city is sleeping. Awaken it with prayer.

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