Shepherding the city - Andy Prosser - 2004
Peace be with you pastors, ministers, preachers and teachers of the Word. My calling on your life is not only to pastor your church but to co-pastor your city. I have a bigger work that extends beyond the walls of your church building or even beyond the boundaries of your community or parish. With leadership comes much responsibility and I am adding to your responsibilities in this new season. My challenge to you is to fulfill the prayer of my son when he cried out to me that ‘they might be one as we are one’.
Sadly in other cities, it has taken the death of a loved and respected leader to be the catalyst for change. However, in Liverpool I see that there is enough good will amongst church leaders to bring this into reality. I do not need to remind you that the work is urgent and that the needs will increase dramatically over the coming months as unemployment and poverty increase across the city.
Brothers, sisters my request is simple. Love one another. Have fellowship, pray together, worship together, eat meals together, study and share my word together, be generous with one another and with what I have given you. Come together as often as you can. Make time for it! Bind this city together in love with peace and grace always on your lips and in your hearts. Be faithful, lead your congregations in word and deed. Lead courageously with faith and conviction, demonstrating your willingness to be first on the front line. Never be fearful for I AM is with you. A fierce opposition is coming but by tightly linking arms in a circle of love and fellowship around the city and by speaking out my word as one you will resist and more importantly, overcome. But more than that. People will come from other nations to witness the transformation of your city!
So…. will you play your part in shepherding the city of Liverpool a place, loud and proud of it’s music and footballing prowess, but quietly broken by it’s industrial decline and savage past. Place your cup to the wall and listen as she weeps. Hear the fatherless children cry real tears and shout in anger for the attentions they deserve but never receive. Be mindful of a whole generation of ‘widows’ – husband-less mothers, floundering as they battle to keep it together often without help or support. Be mindful too of the older men, many of whom are trained and talented in trades that are no longer wanted – and the younger men struggling at school with low self esteem and no prospects. Hear too, my heart for those beautiful but broken Liverpudlian girls, rejecting their painful childhood and trying too hard to be women. Cry with me for their lack of love and the harm that comes their way through unhelpful relationships with boys who don’t know how to show them real love.
Friends, you know the challenges, the hurts, the pains and I want you to mourn with those who mourn, but know also that a negative word can be infectious and bring despair, but the words I give you are WORDS OF HOPE. So speak it into people’s lives all across the city! Help people believe they can be part of the solution and they will soon forget to grumble about the problems. My word for you and for your congregations is this: “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s great pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
The Kingdom of God is coming to Liverpool, but it can’t happen without your help and without unity in heart and mind. If you hear my word and respond and are willing to cast your nets on the other side of the boat then get ready for the deluge! You won’t have time to plan, you will just be wondering how you will ever get the giant catch of fish back to shore (and through the doors of your church!)
And so to you Intercessors, prayer warriors and prophets. You also have a job to do. A new chapter of strategic and insightful prayer is what I require of you all. Roll up your sleeves, map out the city, break it into manageable zones and pray the words I give you for each estate, community, village and town across Merseyside. Root out the darkness, uncover the dark and secluded under-world of crime and occultic practices and expose them to the light of my word. Do not babble but pray clearly and carefully the words I give you. Listen as much as you speak. Find quiet places. Enjoy times of stillness, read my word carefully and then speak out, confidently as one voice over my city.
My words, spoken in unity will have a devastating affect on the darkness in your city. Children, do not doubt my capabilities. My spirit of healing and restoration is willing to blow like a mighty wind through your communities but I need to see pure hearts and a steadfastness to pray, as one, without ceasing. Pray and fast into the night. Rise early to pray, pray in your lunch breaks, pray as you drive and as you walk around the city. Be bold and offer to pray for unbelievers. Demonstrate through action your belief in the power of prayer! Then put out a call to the masses. Sound the bell. Let them ring out across the city. Come together, fill the parks, fill the stadiums, pray and believe that salvation will come to this city. Pray too in your homes with your families. Pray via text and over the internet. Pray over the radio and on the TV. Craft your prayers and put them in the newspapers and in the magazines. Remember that collectively, you have the mind of Christ. If you pray as I command you, then Christ will petition me on your behalf and it will be answered and answered with a resounding ‘YES’!
YES for the widow, the hungry and the homeless. YES for the school and college students. YES for the hard working. YES for the unemployed. YES for the volunteers. YES for the disabled and the house bound. YES for the elderly and the infirm. YES for the sick. YES for the lonely. YES for the abandoned and the abused. YES for the council and the police. YES for the youth workers. YES for the health services and carers. YES for the businesses. YES for Livepool and Merseyside! And so my final word for you is this:
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).