USA (MNN) — Reports on the surging violence coming out of Chicago are enough to break your heart. In fact, July was the most violent month Chicago has seen in 28 years. From an infant shot and killed on an expressway in the Far South Side to a mass shooting outside a Gresham funeral home that left 15 people dead, Chicago’s streets ring with the cries of families and loved ones.
That’s why the timing of Prayercast’s Chicago 77 project is so critical. From July 29 to September 6, Prayercast is releasing a video every 12 hours to prompt prayer for one of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods — prayers for peace and spiritual transformation.
Chris Ruge with Prayercast says, “It definitely is not lost on us that it’s in the midst of this united prayer campaign that we’re seeing the violence spiking right now. Chicago is experiencing one of the most violent years in recent memory right now.
“Ultimately, God needs to move in the city of Chicago to bring the kinds of healing and forgiveness and reconciliation that are needed.”
This city of 2.7 million people is naturally endeared to Prayercast’s heart. Prayercast — a sister ministry of Mission Network News — is based in Aurora, Illinois not far from Chicago.
The initiative’s prayerful focus on Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods is intentional, Ruge says. Each neighborhood across the city’s vast network has different challenges and needs.
“The boundaries of those neighborhoods have not changed for over 100 years. They’re very, very distinct and in fact, you can cross the street in many places in Chicago and one side of the street looks entirely different than the other side of the street because they’re different neighborhoods. They took their identity from entirely different ethnic makeup over the generations.”
However, is prayer enough at a time like this? In the midst of critical elections, social justice initiatives, and COVID-19 concerns, can going to our knees do as much as going to our legislatures if we want to see change?
“It’s not that those things don’t matter. They do matter. But more important than those, we need to follow the commands that Jesus gave us to follow. We need to love others as ourselves. We need to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind, all of our strength.”
“The importance of following those commands and being transformed by Christ’s love is so much more important because no changing of social constructs will ultimately bring about the kind of healing and reconciliation that’s needed. What’s needed is for people to see the face of Christ in His Church, in His Bride, in the city of Chicago, and to see the power of God at work in transforming people’s lives.”
Prayer is the first step for true, eternal change in a city like Chicago – and the most vital. If you want to be a part of the Chicago 77 prayer movement with Prayercast, it’s not too late!
“People can join in anytime!” Ruge says. “The easiest way to do that is to go to prayercast.com and people can sign up. They can find all of the Chicago 77 resources there and sign up to join this daily prayer campaign.”
You can also keep up with Prayercast’s prayer initiatives for Chicago and more on Facebook here!
Header photo of the city of Chicago courtesy of Max Bender via Unsplash.