“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city … pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jer. 29:7
On a drizzly Sabbath morning in March, the youth from Washington's Gig Harbor Adventist Fellowship (GHAF) traded the warmth and comfort of their regular meeting room for a wet and chilly walk through downtown Gig Harbor.
Instead of their regular Bible study class, they picked up trash from the sidewalks and street gutters, stopping several places along the way to pray for the city.
Though a little wet and shivering, each of the youth responded positively. “It was a great experience helping the community out and showing some unconditional love,” says Emily Aliment.
“It was cold and rainy,” adds Joel Barrett, “but what was most important was serving and praying for our community.”
Judy Hart, one of the youth leaders, says, “I loved how the youth embraced this activity. No one seemed embarrassed or annoyed that we were out picking up trash and stopping at random spots to pray.”
At some of the stops along the way the group prayed for specific things Gig Harbor is known for — its tourists, boaters and city events; its downtown waterfront businesses; and its fleet of family-run commercial fishing boats. Other prayer stops focused on Gig Harbor’s schools, teachers, students, families, neighbors and churches.
The youth, along with the adult leaders, appreciated the focused prayer topics. “It was very insightful to take time away from our busy lives to pray about practical things we normally wouldn’t have prayed for,” shares Rachel Ramey.
Kim Comfort, another youth leader, says, “The intentionality of praying about different things on the walk made our prayer time more meaningful.”
Besides leaving the city a little cleaner, the GHAF youth leaders believe activities like the service and prayer walk will inspire the youth to build lifelong habits of staying connected with God, desiring the well-being of their neighbors and living in service to their communities. “It felt rewarding to play an important part in praying for the community and ushering God’s presence into Gig Harbor,” says youth Ben Comfort.
For the youth and for the entire church, getting out into the community more will also help the church better discern where God is leading toward the next prayers to be offered, the next people in need or the next area of service.