During morning prayer today I read, “Make us ambitious to see Your mercy on a major scale. May people be loved by their neighbors throughout our city.” (Steve Hawthorne, Seek God For the City) If that prayer is to be answered it will be answered by you and me.
When we think about the great numbers of people who desperately need to experience God’s love we can become overwhelmed with the task of taking God’s love to them. Believing it is too hard we end up doing nothing. But Hawthorne has prayed a prayer we can all answer. We can love our neighbors.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus stressed the point that anyone we know who is in need is our neighbor even someone we meet while we’re traveling. But it only makes sense that we see the immediate opportunity to love those who are closest to us—the people who live on our street! What if everyone in Trumbull County had someone showing them the love of Jesus? Do you think it would make a difference?
To do this we would have to overcome the cultural malady of isolation. We have become prisoners of our own houses. We open the garage door and pull our car out, close the door and drive to work. We return that evening and open the garage door, pull our car in, close the door and go into the house. We often stay in the house till it’s time to get up from sleep and do the same thing again. When we do leave our homes for something other than work we almost always drive to get there. Gone are the days when people walked to where they were going and said hello to folks sitting on their porch swing (remember those?) and having conversations with neighbors over the backyard fence. Yes, things have changed and if we’re going to get to know our neighbors we’re going to have to be intentional about it.
God has given us a vision whereby we can see everyone in our county prayed for which is a great first step in loving them. The vision is for those who have tasted the goodness of God in the gospel of Christ to adopt their street promising to pray for the people who live on that street and find ways to get to know them. Then we do what Christ did—we show them love and compassion. We do this by showing genuine interest in them, asking them how we can pray for them and when they have a need we do what we can to meet that need. It’s a simple thing. Love your neighbors.
You can get involved in this Adopt-a-Street initiative by going to www:tcprayermovement.com and clicking on the “Adopt a street” tab which will take you to a form you can fill out telling us what street or streets you are adopting. Suggestions and guidelines about this simple but powerful plan will be coming soon but in reality it’s as simple as I’ve just explained. I see the day when every neighborhood in our county and our region will be covered in prayer! God will surely respond to such prayer. He will give us creative ways to get to know our neighbors. He will give us the desire and the resources to show His love in practical ways. And He will be working to bring about opportunities for many to hear the good news of Jesus and find Him as their own Savior.
This initiative is part of the Trumbull County Prayer Movement and involves many Pastors and churches throughout our region and we pray that soon that number will grow substantially. This vision can be fulfilled! I’m convinced along with others that God is in this. He is going to mobilize the believers throughout our region to accomplish what is indeed a God-sized task. It will be accomplished when we do this simple but powerful thing—love our neighbors!