Intercessors spend a day lifting up the needs of the city
By Andrew Woodrow
“A bus tour is a good way to see the neighborhoods we’ll be praying for,” said Cheryl Dorsey, prayer coordinator for the Chicago Metro Baptist Association. “As we travel between churches, we will review the social and spiritual profile of the neighborhoods, praying en route for those communities.”
This was the fifth year Dorsey and fellow intercessor Phil Miglioratti have drawn together a band of people to pray for Chicagoland, but this was the first time the prayer meeting was mobile.
The group of 20 who braved sub-zero temperatures on January 26 visited four church locations scattered across the metro area. Throughout the trip, pastors shared concerns for their churches and communities while Dorsey and Miglioratti lead prayer using a Chicago neighborhood prayer guide by John Fuder.
Hillcrest Baptist Church
Country Club Hills
“We are praying for you and with you as you go out and pray for your brothers and sisters across the Chicagoland area,” Pastor Adron Robinson told the prayer team as they met at Hillcrest to start the day-long journey. “Pray for us as a church,” he said, to fulfill the Great Commission. “And pray for Country Clubs Hills. There are about 16,000 people in our suburb and many who do not know the Lord,” he added.
As they boarded the bus, Dorsey encouraged the team to sit next to a prayer partner and to be “sensitive to allow whatever site you see along the way to prompt a prayer”—whether it’s a school building, house, store, or a family in a passing car.
Gathered in the eleventh floor community room of a South Loop condo building, the prayer team learned about the up-and-coming community Dennis Conner serves as well as the barriers he faces planting a church in a high-rise. Conner called it a “very different mission field,” where “money and gatekeepers render door-to-door evangelism ineffective.”
The goal of Advent Church is to reach the working professionals in the city. “Pray for fruits for our labor,” he said, “because this is a place that until someone has credibility, gives you their credibility, you don’t have it.”
Chicagoland Community Church
Nestled in a tight squeeze of low-rise townhouses and multi-unit complexes is Chicagoland Community Church. Here, Pastor Jon Pennington of the Lakeview Community church asked prayer for the church’s success in sharing the gospel.
“We’re passionate to teach people in this neighborhood how to be Jesus-followers,” he said, “But what we really want to see happen in these next two years is 200 first-time visitors at our worship services who are curious about the gospel or our mission—and that at least 20 of them will become new members of the church.”
Iglesia Bautista Erie
Heading into West Town, snow began falling as the bus reached its last stop, where Marvin Del Rios serves as pastor. “Pray for our community,” he said. “The last several years our community has been going through a process of gentrification. Young professionals are moving back into the city while the working poor to middle class are moving out, changing our outreach strategy.
“The spiritual soil is tough at the moment,” Del Rios said. He hopes as these young professionals have families, “that might be the door to use for us to share the gospel – through their children.”
“Chicago is still a very divided city rooted in a history of prejudice,” Miglioratti said. “And the church of Chicago needs prayer because the church is also divided. So, as we pray for a greater unity in the church, that prayer will produce greater outreach which will lead to many more people becoming part of the family of God.”
Eight hours later, Dorsey described the excitement through prayer she encountered “as though the Holy Spirit was tailoring our prayer to suit the needs in (each) location,” she said. “It opened our eyes that we pray without prejudice and bias. And being equal partakers of the inheritance of Christ Jesus is not going to happen if people don’t pray into the Kingdom. And that is what we are doing.”