A prayer for Birmingham

Sunday 16th June 2024

And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh,
in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people
who cannot tell their right hand from their left –
and also many animals?

Jonah 4:11 (NIV)

A Prayer for Birmingham
A good number of us were at the annual meeting of the Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship a week or so ago, where the new Bishop of Birmingham Michael Volland was speaking.  It was an encouraging meeting for a number of reasons: seeing the growing breadth and depth of unity among evangelicals in the diocese, hearing of Bishop Michael’s own involvement in personal evangelism and learning of his personal commitment to a biblical understanding of marriage.

There was for me also another ‘take-away,’ and that is the prayer he said he has been praying daily for Birmingham since the day he knew he would be bishop here.  I did not get it down word for word, but this is the heart of his prayer:

            “Lord, have mercy on Birmingham,
give me love for its people,
break the power of evil, and
bring many to faith in Christ.”

What a great prayer!  I have found myself praying it almost daily since (and it is easy to memorise).  Another great thing about the prayer is that you can swap in almost anything you want to pray for in place of ‘Birmingham.’  For example, it could be your workplace, your street, your wider family, the nation.  The list is endless!

God is certainly concerned for the great city of Birmingham, as he was for Nineveh in Jonah’s day.  That was his dispute with the runaway prophet Jonah, who had no concern for Nineveh or its people (or its animals!).  In fact, he wanted to see the city destroyed by God.  It is challenging to see that God longs to have mercy even on a pagan city which is hostile to his own people.

We know we should be concerned for our city, and now we have an easy way of showing that concern by praying for it.  And who knows how God may use us to answer our own prayers?  Let us pray that he does!

Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)