In 2009, a Time magazine article stated that Detroit had become an icon of a failed city in America and that the world was watching to see if Detroit would rise from the ashes. The sting of these words served as a wakeup call for Christians of metro-Detroit. In 2010, churches began to work together to bring good deeds and the good news of Jesus to Detroit. This movement swelled to over 550 churches reaching out to Detroit over a period of forty days in what we now know as E.A.C.H. (Everyone A Chance to Hear). Over 20,000 people walked the streets of downtown Detroit last year to pray for our city.
Have you noticed the signs of restoration and hope in our city? Not only have we seen the success of our sports teams as the Tigers beating the Yankees to make it to the pennant race for the American League and the Lions (to date at the writing of this article) winning five out of six games this season – these successes are close to being categorized as miraculous! -but businesses, government and churches are gaining new strength. The Detroit Free Press headline of Sunday, October 16 states that more and more, nation loves the “D”. Where we had the worst reputation in the nation, now there is applause for our Detroit from across the nation. Examples include: “Detroit’s Engine Roars on Signs of Turnaround” (Wall Street Journal). “Detroit Rising” (USA Today). “The Art of Coming Back from Tough Times” (International Business News).
The danger is that we see Detroit’s rising from the ashes as something we did on our own through grit and determination. But the truth is that concerted prayer and seeking the Lord has been at the heart of this amazing turn around. Can you not see it? We must not forget. God’s Word is true. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) Our restoration comes from God. If we do not praise Him or give thanks to Him for His goodness, but brag about ourselves with self-centered pride, then this new revival will be short-lived. If we neglect the spirit of cooperation, service and care for one another embraced this past year and fall back to the status quo of everyone out for themselves, we will see greed and the fight over power and control slam us back to the ashes of a city that has forgotten the pain of its past and forfeited the hope of a brighter future.
All the more, we, as the people of God, are to pray for our city and our leaders whether in government, education, business or the church. As we humble ourselves and pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways, God, who is rich in mercy, will hear us for the sake of His Son Jesus, our Savior. God is not finished with Detroit! He is awakening His Church to partner with Him to bring His restoring love and presence to our city. Detroit is rising from the ashes through the power of God who raised His Son from the dead to be our Savior. We, at Shepherd’s Gate, must not miss our assignment from heaven to be the Church that Jesus is building. Let’s keep on with the work of going to the gates of hell to break through to bring forgiveness and life, freedom and purpose to our city. Let’s keep on gathering in worship to be uplifted and inspired. Let’s keep on giving generously so to resource our discipleship and outreach. Our Lord is leading us. Let’s go and fill our city and our world with dynamic disciples.
What signs of God at work in Detroit do you see? What challenges do we face? Let me hear from you.
Check out a city-wide prayer movement for youth and adults in Detroit on 11.11.11 at www.thecall.com