Inner-View #38 ...
Connecting Leaders for Prayer and City Transformation
Prayer Leader interviewed Ernie Frederick, Director of the Pittsburgh Prayer Network
Prayer Leader ~ Ernie, tell us how the Pittsburgh Prayer Network began and the vision God has given to PPN.
Ernie Frederick ~ Pittsburgh Prayer Network (PPN) was birthed out of the "Praise, Proclamation and Prayer" emphasis of Pittsburgh's March for Jesus movement in the 1990s, in which over 300 Pittsburgh area churches were mobilized to gather 25,000 - 30,000 for the Marches and Prayer Gatherings in the 'Burgh. In 1990 ten churches cooperated to begin monthly 24 hour Prayer Watches "on the wall" atop Mt. Washington, overlooking the downtown business district, with the vision to saturate the City with "supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings" for the Salvation and Transformation of the City. God gave me an assignment on March 20, 1990 to go to Mt. Washington every day, and "seed the city with God's Word, and soak it with Holy Spirit watering" with saturation praying, for God's Presence and working to fill the City.
Prayer Leader ~ What is the strategy to cover Pittsburgh in 24/7 prayer?
Ernie Frederick ~ At the City's annual "First Night" celebration on New Year's Eve 1999, PPN launched 24/7 prayer with 7 churches taking 1 day each week for the first 40 days of the new millennium year 2000. This 40 days was follow by 39 churches taking 1 "watch" day each month. This continued for 2-3 years. In addition several prayer initiatives were started in the City: "Open Air Places of Prayer" (Prayer Stations) during special events and community festivals in the Pittsburgh region, Prayerwalking workshops were held in local churches to pray for their communities. Also National Day of Prayer gatherings were held in various downtown Pittsburgh locations. Our vision, and yet unreached goal, is to have a physical "House of Prayer" in Pittsburgh, with mobilization, training and 24/7 praying for the City.
Prayer Leader ~ You have published a prayer guide (Praying God's Purposes for Your City) - What is central to your day-by-day approach?
Ernie Frederick ~ God has creational design purposes, redemptive restoration purposes, functional Kingdom purposes for all that He has created. His desire is for "all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth" of Himself and these purposes. (I Timothy 2:1-6) Our praying, therefore, is to agree with what God WANTS, desire its actualization in our midst, and invite His Presence and working to accomplish it. Transformation occurs as God's kingship rule is welcomed to come, and His will is allowed to be done in the areas, activities, and institutions of the City, in order to unite the city under Jesus' Kingdom rule.
We have prayed from Psalm 24:7-10, for the gatekeepers of government, public safety, courts, media, healthcare, transportation, arts, sports and entertainment in the City - to "open their gates and let the King of glory come in." We have not seen the spiritual gatekeepers of the city come into a unity of the Spirit in praying this for the city yet.
Prayer Leader ~ Why are the promises of God so central to each day's prayer focus?
Ernie Frederick ~ God's promised purposes are the key to Salvation and Transformation. They produce prayers of HOPE, because God assures their fulfillment, rooted and established in His integrity. "This Gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed in all the earth, as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14) "By Myself I have sworn . . . every knee will bow. They will say of Me, 'In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength.' " (Isaiah 45:23-24) "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this." (Isaiah 9:7) "All nations You have made will come and worship before You, O Lord. They will bring glory to your name." (Psalm 86:9) "But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord." (Numbers 24:14) See the prayer for this in Psalm 72:18-19.
Prayer Leader ~ You have written that the "prayer guide is a tool of transformation for your city" - What are your hopes for transformation? What tangible evidence of transformation do you hope to see in Pittsburgh?
Ernie Frederick ~ In the "Day #1" of Praying God's Purposes for Your City are some "Snapshots of Hope" which I envision God creating in the Transformation of the City:
- Praying Groups springing up in "many places" throughout the city (Malachi 1:11)
- "Prayer Driving" Commuters "prayer driving" into the city with "soaking" praise,
blessing, supplications and welcoming God's Presence and working in the city
- Families giving priority each day, praying for one another and for their community
- Workplace Praying by workers entering their workplaces with thanksgiving, and entering their work areas with praise (Psalm 100)
- Business Meetings being opened with prayer for God's guidance for the agend - Malls opened each day for business with "loudspeaker" prayers for the workers and customers (as I heard done in a mall in Davao City in the Philippines)
- Taxi and Bus Drivers "blessing" their riders for the day's activities, as they enter
Prayer Leader ~ What do you mean by "prayer-welcome God" into the city?
Ernie Frederick ~
God has a sovereign relationship with cities, as well as with individuals and families. He is the Father, the Owner, the King, the Shepherd, the Redeemer of cities. And He seeks a resident, ruling personal relationship with cities and their people, where His Fatherhood is honored with childlike dependence, His Ownership is acknowledge with stewardship, His Kingship is cultivated by servanthood, His Shepherding is received by following Him, His Redeemer works are spread by worship, proclamation and witness.
Our response to Him, as His people, is like welcoming someone to live in our home. It's expressed by needing His relationship, wanting His Presence, inviting His wisdom and will, cultivating His working in the city by Spirit-guided serious, persistent saturating praying. Praying which praises and thanks Him, declares His purposes as true, affirms His promises as trustworthy, confesses sin and evil for cleansing of the city, seeks His guidance, asks the impartation of His life into our city, are ways of welcoming Him to "be our God" because He has made us and redeemed us as His people.When God led me to pray daily for Pittsburgh in 1990, He showed me a vision of His purpose to establish a vine of prayer groups in the neighborhoods and workplaces of the City. These would be "watchers of welcome" for the Presence and working of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit , that would result in businesses and organizations "bowing the knees" and confessing, that "only in the Lord's wisdom" is the right way to run a company, and "only in the Lord's strength" is the right way to carry out His will in the business or organization. (Isaiah 45:23-24) We have yet to see the birthing of this "vine" movement in the City. (There are many prayer groups, for personal and family needs, but not yet a new paradigm of praying for the Salvation and Transformation of the City.)
Prayer Leader ~ Ernie, please write a prayer we can pray for our cities and communities that will result in more Christians opening their eyes and hearts to this vision...
Ernie Frederick ~
"Father, we glorify You as the Father, Owner, King, Savior, Shepherd of our city. We thank you for planting us, redeemed by Your Messiah JESUS, as "oaks of righteousness" in our city – with the character purpose to glorify You with our lives, and a mission purpose to "rebuild, restore, repair" the ruins in our city." (Isaiah 61:3-4) Let our city be redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus' death on the Cross, released from demonic death grips of evil by His blood, renewed by Jesus' resurrection power, joined under the authority of His Lordship, united by the Holy Spirit's life-sustaining Presence. Raise up a generation of citywide pray-ers who will declare Your ownership of our city, and call for the gatekeepers to 'open the gates of their companies and organizations, and let the King of glory come in' to have resident rule of what He already owns. We ask for this, that the glory of Your name and the name of JESUS may fill our city."