But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7
Two commands punctuate this verse:
- Seek the welfare of the city
- Pray to the Lord on its behalf
When we say, “The City” what we usually mean is New York City. As we apply this verse today, I think we should include the City of New York and the areas around it (including, of course, Long Island).
In its original context, the Lord through Jeremiah was speaking of Babylon, the country to which the Jews had been exiled. False prophets were saying that soon the exiles would be returning to Israel. God says “No;” it will be 70 years hence. In the meanwhile seek the welfare of the place where you are, and pray to the Lord on its behalf.
Our City is in great distress. The actual City of New York and its surrounding areas have been accurately dubbed Ground Zero for the Coronavirus in the U.S. What to do?
As God’s people, we look to Him for our direction and he says to pray on behalf of the City and to seek its welfare.
The prayer part–
- For those afflicted with Coronavirus–for healing and that they would know the saving presence of God if this should be their time to die.
- Pray for the brave healthcare workers who are ministering to them. The police, fire and emergency services workers who are tasked to do dangerous things. And for endurance–unless the Lord miraculously intervenes, this will not go away soon.
- Pray for those who are working for treatments and vaccines. Pray for those in the supply chain that are working like crazy to produce needed supplies.
- Even more, that the plague would stop in a way that is uniquely timed to bring glory to God.
- Pray for the financial health of our city and country. Millions are out of work; companies large and small are being pushed toward financial failure. Savings are being depleted.
- Pray for our leaders. It is a tough time to be a leader, and God’s people, whether they supported them in the ballot box or not, are called to support them in prayer.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Finally in prayer–note in the verses above God’s desire that people be saved from sin and come to a knowledge of the truth. Our nation needs revival. Let us join in prayer and ask God to ignite revival fires in our City to the glory of God.
The seek the welfare of the city part
Our Easter Offering this year will be going 100% to our Benevolent Fund to bring practical help and hope to our congregation and community as God leads us. You should receive your Easter Letter soon if you have not received it already.
We are partnering with both Helping Hands Ministry (to our west) and Lighthouse Mission (to our east) to support their work of extending food and other help in Jesus’ name. Our Easter Outreach will show you how to get personally involved.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Note that my welfare and yours is tied up in the welfare of our City. I know that we have to isolate; that for the most part many of us are hunkered down at home. But let our hearts reach past our doors in prayer and welfare for the New York City area: “…for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
God’s grace to you,