Defending our cities

Our cities need alert watchers, and our prayers enable us to do this.

Originally published online on April 28, 2022

We hear daily about our cities’ woes. Stories of injustice, violence, and criminal activity seem at flood tide in many cities worldwide. 

At one point, some houses in my own neighborhood had been broken into and robbed. Neighbors felt invaded, disturbed, even violated. The neighborhood was on edge. Several of us met one night to consider how to defend our homes; we decided to form a neighborhood watch.

In addition to taking these steps with my neighbors, I decided to pray. I thought about the Bible record of Nehemiah, who saw his city, Jerusalem, facing a dire, potentially deadly, crisis (see Nehemiah, chapters 2–6). He addressed the rulers and citizens of the city, voicing the need to rebuild the surrounding wall to protect the city from its foes. But more importantly, his faithful prayers led him to recognize that the only sure protection is God. Although neighboring rulers scorned the Israelites’ efforts to rebuild the wall, eventually employing threats, subterfuge, and unfounded rumors to try to halt their progress, Nehemiah courageously stayed the course. As the work began, he said to his enemies, “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 2:20). To me this meant that God has all power, and that evil had no current presence in Jerusalem, no right to a future presence, and no evidence of a past presence. 

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