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Workday Prayers: God Loves the City

March 10, 2022 • Life for Leaders

Scripture—Psalm 87:1-3 (NRSV)

On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
+++the LORD loves the gates of Zion
+++more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
+++O city of God. Selah

Focus

God loves cities. Therefore, we who work in cities must strive for the good of our neighbors and our communities. May our work bless, not only the Lord, but also the cities and city people whom God loves.

Prelude

When we think of God’s love for creation, it’s easy and sensible to think about the natural world and all of its beauty. After all, God did create the Garden of Eden. And the first instruction God gave to human beings was related to the Garden: “Be fruitful . . . .”

I have no doubt that God loves gardens. But it is fascinating to discover in Scripture that God also has a profound affection for cities. In particular, God loves Zion (Jerusalem), the city God founded and in which he established his dwelling place on earth. But God’s love for other cities is seen elsewhere in Scripture. Consider, for example, that God sent the Apostle Paul mainly to the cities of the Mediterranean world. God wanted city folk to hear and respond to the gospel. Moreover, when Scripture describes the creation that is coming, the new heaven and new earth, it doesn’t reveal a glorious and unspoiled garden. Rather, the focal point of the new earth is “the holy city, the new Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:2).

Today, most people in the United States live and work in cities. Demographers estimate that about 83% of Americans live in cities (way up from 50% a century ago and 7% two centuries ago). Today’s prayer is based on God’s love for the city, the place in which most of us work.

Prayer

Gracious God, today I’m inspired by your love for Zion. When you wanted a place in which to dwell, you did not create for yourself a new Eden. You did not give yourself a place of stunning natural beauty, a place of retreat far away from the bustle and business of humanity. No, you chose to dwell in a city. You made Zion your home on earth.

You example reminds me that cities matter. They matter to you. They should matter to me. Cities are essential to your work and presence in the world. They are also a place of poverty, crowding, disease, and crime. Yes, that’s true. But you haven’t given up on cities. You don’t just tolerate them. Rather, you see their potential to be a place of good work, good community, good art, and good play.

Today, Lord, I pray for the city in which I work. (And if I work in the country, I pray for the city nearest to me.) O Lord, may this city be a place in which you dwell, through your Spirit and through your people. May this city be a place shaped by your peace and pervaded by your justice. May the work I do contribute to the common good of my neighbors.

I do pray for my neighbors today, Lord. For those who are flourishing, may they give you thanks for your grace. For those who are suffering, may your salvation and justice claim them. To this end, I pray for the churches in this city, that they might be faithful representatives of your kingdom. But I pray similarly for the businesses, non-profits, schools, studies, hospitals, and offices of this city. May they also reflect the vision and values of your kingdom. Amen.

Ponder Throughout the Day

God loves the place where you work.

For Further Reflection

Read all of Psalm 87.

You may also wish to read Revelation 21:1-27.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: The City of God


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