Pray for Our Community
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Jeremiah 29:4-7 NIV
Seeking other people’s prosperity
The Israelites were living in exile. They had been taken from their home, forced to live as slaves in a rather hostile environment, which makes this passage all the more profound. In Jeremiah, God writes a letter to his people living in Exile with the promise that in time, all would be made well (Jeremiah 29:11). Along with a number of other things, he tells them that they should seek the prosperity of the city they had been carried off to.
The city to which they had been carried was filled with their enemies. The city was made up of slave masters who had stolen them from their homes and their families. They were the people Israel had been at war with. Yet, that didn’t change God’s heart. It had always been God’s plan to use the people of Israel to bless the nations. So while it wasn’t ideal that they were stuck in exile, God decided to use it anyway. He tells them to settle down—to get married, plant gardens, and make it their home. They were to let go of their past country and embrace this new country as their home.
We’re planting a church in a new community. The Israelites were carried to their new place because of war; we are carried to our new place because of love. We plan to love our new community. More than that, we are hoping to fall in love with this new community as much as, if not more than, our current community. The words of Jeremiah still apply: We are headed somewhere new, and our prayer is that the place we are headed to is better off because we’re there. We want to seek the prosperity of the city we are being drawn to.
We are starting out as just visitors, with so much to learn. We don’t assume that our presence will be a blessing, and we have no intentions of being saviors to our new community. Instead, we pray that God would bless the city we are headed to.
Would you join with us and pray for our new community? Pray that God blesses it. Pray that God helps our team to truly settle into this community; leaving the past behind and fully embracing the place we are carried off to. Pray that God helps our community to prosper, and our new church along with it.