“Your city is God’s city. The people are made in His image. Satan is an invader and a usurper operating in our territory. God did not give demons authority over your city. Demons have infested the earth’s atmosphere since before the creation of mankind, but they can only extend their authority into a town or an institution when people sin. When you look into the history of your city, you will find clues as to what is oppressing the people today. This is our planet, and the only authority Satan has is stolen human authority.”
Buildings were set ablaze, businesses were looted, cars were torched, and gunshots were fired. There was fire in the night! Police and violent protesters were all over the main street. Anger and emotions were high. The situation was tense as agitators and violent protestors forced police to fire tear gas. This all happened recently in Ferguson, Missouri in the U.S., but it can happen anywhere. Violence is increasing in cities all over the world.
This rise of crime touches us deeply because we desperately want to see peace in our cities. In the above quote, John Dawson emphasizes the fact that this is our planet and that our cities belongs to God. We have authority in prayer to protect and change the atmosphere of our city, but we must learn to fervently pray in faith with watchful eyes. The Greek words used for “to guard” are “gregoreuo” and “agrupneo,” which both mean to be awake or sleepless. This implies protection.
We need to be God’s watchmen day and night on the lookout for danger in our cities.
The Night Watch
"I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place of the Mighty One of Jacob" (Psalm 132:4).
At the same time as violence increases worldwide, God is raising up prayer in churches and cities, and he is also raising up the Night Watch. Many will rise up to this call and embrace the lifestyle of the Night Watch. Here at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC Prayer Room), there are many who love to pray in the middle of the night. It especially appeals to the youth and is called Fire in the Night. The Holy Spirit is stirring the hearts of a community of people worldwide who will pray and contend for the mercy and power of God in the night season (Joel 1:13).
They will be vigilant and watchful.
The Fire in the Night Watchmen at IHOP make a lifestyle change. They actually rearrange their lives in order to intercede through the night hours. They train their bodies to adjust to a new time schedule in eating and sleeping. They are intercessors, singers, and musicians who believe that they will see the Lord's victory in the night. We can most effectively do works of justice in the context of night and day prayer. We desperately need God's justice in our cities. The atmosphere of God's presence and fire in the night opens the way for justice and the harvest of souls.
"And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly" (Luke 18:7-8).
Psalm 134 speaks of those in the night watch. This is critical to the divine strategy of God in order to see transformation in our cities. So many evil things happen in the night—murder, theft, immorality, and witchcraft. Light can invade the darkness through prayer and worship. We receive the blessing that the Lord promises those who minister in His house through the night.
“Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD. May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion” (Psalm 134).
As we look at what took place in Ferguson, there is an urgency of the hour to pray for our cities. The present emphasis on prayer makes day and night prayer a possibility in this generation. The commitment of a rising group of young people to be God’s night watchmen should stimulate each one of us to give ourselves to prayer. Let’s seek to be people who learn to pray not only in the day but also in the night. "On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night" (Psalm 63:6).
As more of God’s people pray and bless the Lord at night, the spiritual atmosphere changes in the city. His fire is released in the night!
How to Pray for Your City
"I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day and all night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth" (Isaiah 62:6-7).
The following are some ways you can bring authoritative intercession for your city into your prayer life:
- Cover your city with continuous praise and worship - God gives you His heart for your city through worship and a positive attitude. Instead of complaining and reacting toward the sin in your city, praise God for the good things. Satan is already an accuser, so praising God and declaring by faith the eternal purpose and dream of God over your city brings in His presence and defeats the enemy.
- Wait on the Lord for insight - Don’t depend on your own wisdom, but listen to God with childlike dependence. God will open your eyes as to what He wants to do in your city when you set aside your own agenda and wait upon Him. The Lord will give you His strategies for reaching and blessing your city.
- Identify with the sins of the city - We can all identify with the roots of any sin in our city. The potential is in each one of us. We need to identify in personal and corporate repentance. Nehemiah identified with the sins in his city and prayed: “I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you” (Nehemiah 1:6-7).
- Overcome evil with good - Come in the opposite spirit. If there is a lot of violence, demonstrate the spirit of peace. If your city is full of greed, demonstrate generosity. If there is hate, live a life of love. This will give you great victory in your city.
- Travail over your city - Just as a pregnant woman travails to give birth to a child, you birth God’s dream in your city through travail (John 16:21). You must pray until something happens; this takes dedication and perseverance. This has everything to do with faith for your city and revival. The Apostle Paul is an excellent example (2 Corinthians 11:27-28).
A few years ago we were praying day and night in southern Spain. I remember a particularly weary time of prayer early in the morning while it was still dark, and I was feeling very alone in the prayer room. God reminded me of when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and His disciples fell asleep. He had asked them to watch with Him. In the same way, I felt like the Lord was quietly and tenderly speaking to me, saying:
"Will you not watch with me one hour? Will you not watch and pray here in the dark for the land and the salvation of souls?"
I realized at that moment that I needed to say "yes" to the Lord. He is looking for those who will stand watch even when it is not easy. He is looking for those with an intense desire to see His peace and presence in their city. We have two possibilities before us. We can either release God's holy fire in the night or the enemy will release fires of sin and destruction in our cities. Will you be God’s watchman at such an important hour, even when others are sleeping?
Will you release His fire in the night through pray until He brings deliverance to your city?
A Prayer for Your City
Dear Lord, change the atmosphere of our city through our prayers. Help us to guard our city as watchmen. Our city belongs to You [Name your city.] Teach us to continually cover it with praise and worship day and night. We long to release Your fire in the night season. Give us insight into how to pray for our city and how to take action in love as we wait on You. Teach us the secret of travailing prayer. Give us great faith for peace and revival for our city. We will pray until Your deliverance comes. We choose to give ourselves no rest (Isaiah 62:6-7). We praise You for You are mighty and powerful, and You can do all things. We choose to remember Your name in the night. We praise You for what You are going to do in our city as we pray and reach out to the lost. In Jesus’ name, amen.
"I have [earnestly] remembered Your name, O Lord, in the night, and I have observed Your law" (Psalm 119:55).
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International House of Prayer (IHOP) KC Staff