We are so excited to walk into 2019! We believe that God has great things in store for our neighborhood, particularly as we work towards establishing an equitable, mixed-income community together.
As we seek to love our neighbors, we’re reminded that praying for our neighborhoods serves as a powerful act of love. It helps us remember that we are not alone in doing the long work of partnering in transformation; God accompanies us and cares deeply.
Here are a few ways we are praying over South Atlanta in 2019. Join us, and feel free to pray the same for your own community.
1. Pray for the changes coming this year.
Every year brings changes. This year, we envision some exciting ones, like the revitalization of J’s gas station. Atlanta at large is changing, too, often in ways that make it harder for neighborhoods like ours to exist. Pray that the changes that come to Atlanta and to South Atlanta would be ones that support and benefit our community.
God, we lift up the changes coming to our neighborhood and our city this year. We ask that you would bend these changes so that they would sow good things for our community and its members. Please make space for our neighbors to have a voice and to mold the decisions that affect them and their loved ones.
2. Pray for strong relationships.
Friendships, partnerships, family relationships -- these are the building blocks of a mutually supportive network. Pray that neighbors would connect warmly and deeply, like we’ve gotten to witness at the food co-op we host with Urban Recipe. We’re praying for bonds that amplify celebration and provide comfort in the hard times this year will bring. Pray for partnerships based on understanding, grace, and collaboration.
God Almighty, we ask for healthy, thriving relationships between neighbors and between us and community partners. We pray for safe people, for the courage to share vulnerably and for compassion between neighbors. We pray also for communal dreams and collaboration. Cultivate understanding and mutual care, following the example of how Jesus loved us.
3. Pray for the families.
Families are home; they tell us who we are. They face the challenges and joys of life together. Pray for the parents, aunts, grandparents, uncles, cousins, siblings, and children in South Atlanta. We try to pray for families and their members by name (or by face for those of us who aren’t great with names!).
Jesus, you were in a family when you walked this earth; you know their beauties and complications. We ask for your presence in the families of our neighborhood. We ask that you would provide clear lines of communication and build loving, strong bonds between the spouses, children, teenagers, adults, and grandparents. We pray that each branch of the family would demonstrate love for one another.
4. Pray for the third spaces.
Churches, community centers, places like Carver Market and Community Grounds, all offer space for community to flourish. We hope that these places will remain safe, hospitable, and sustainable. Pray that these places welcome residents, that they would see their mission as serving the community. Pray that residents would feel confident that these local spaces are for them, for their flourishing and enjoyment.
Lord God, we ask for guidance for local businesses, community organizations, and churches as they host our neighbors. Pour your wisdom and spirit of hospitality into these places. Help them to thrive, and make them strong pillars that support the flourishing of our community. We pray for proprietors, staff, pastors, and workers who spend their time in South Atlanta to see the beauty that is in its people.
5. Pray for healthy rhythms.
A new year offers hope, often hope for a healthier change. Pray that every resident of South Atlanta would be able to have rhythms that bring life. These rhythms might include celebration, rest, toil, sadness, a safe living situation, and more. Pray particularly for rhythms to include rejuvenation and relaxation, which can often get lost in the hustle to provide for family and stay on top of life.
Creator of all things, you appoint the seasons of life. You command us to rest, to work, to celebrate, to mourn in the right timing and proportion. Make space for all of these parts of a full life in the days of our families, friends, and neighbors this year. We ask that you would use these rhythms to build health in our community, and to prepare us to better taste the sweetness of your presence.