By Kimberly Hunt
“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 29:7
It all started July 2017 when a group of City to City leaders convened for a strategic planning meeting. Near the end, Steve, our CEO, asked what was missing from the nine key strategies they had listed during their brainstorming session. One person said, “What’s missing is prayer. We’re not going to be able to accomplish any of these strategies without prayer.” Thus began our intentional effort to bring prayer into the center of everything we do. Or perhaps better stated, to have everything we do emanate from a posture of prayer.
To help propel and guide these efforts, a number of staff formed the Prayer Initiative Team and began praying together and dreaming about the type of organization City to City could be with prayer at the center. At the team’s initial prayer and pre-planning day, it became clear that instead of general prayers, we desired to pray big, bold prayers. The Holy Spirit led us to look beyond the walls of City to City to the world as our vision statement became clear: The global church praying for gospel renewal in cities, coupled with our theme verse: Jeremiah 29:7. But how could we ask others to join us in this “prayer movement” without first beginning a little closer to home? So while keeping our eyes on the vision, we made our mission a bit more tangible: To inspire/enact/evidence/mobilize a culture of kingdom-centered prayer for City to City and its partners.
Kingdom-centered prayer. Even the Prayer Initiative Team did not have a solid understanding of this term. For us to pray prayers asking for God’s rule and reign to be established on the earth, we’d have to learn more about this kind of prayer. Kingdom-centered prayer is all about bringing a kingdom perspective to prayer. At our recent staff retreat, I was convicted by how self-centered my prayers can be and how that constricts my capacity for God and others. Praying for God’s will to be done is praying like Jesus and with his vision for the world. Praying like Jesus prayed (the Lord’s Prayer is our example) increases our capacity for God and enlarges our heart for others. As I was reminded at the retreat, Jesus, our perfect example, lived and led others out of a life of prayer.
The journey to become an organization of people who are learning to pray like Jesus is not one we want to walk alone. As we endeavor to practice prayers that focus on God’s reign being established in our lives, communities and cities, we invite you to join us. How beautiful and powerful would it be to see God answer our prayers for the cities of the world.
Kimberly is City to City’s Vice President of Operations. She works closely with the CEO to develop, grow and cultivate the spiritual and organizational health of the ministry. She's been blessed to live in such great cities such as San Francisco and Paris, but New York City has captured her heart.