citywide (2)

I’ve been delighted with the magnificent photo on the cover of this year’s Seek God for the City. The beautiful city, bathed in light, with a river running through it, is Calgary, Alberta, if you’re wondering. Several friends have asked. Only a few days ago I had an insight about that image that I’d like to share with you.

9651004883?profile=originalAs many do around the turn of the year, I was at home pondering the days ahead. On the table beside me was a copy of Seek God for the City 2012. Recently, I’ve been meditating on Psalm 46. Somehow one phrase from the psalm lit up in full color: “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.”


Elsewhere in that Psalm there are nations that roar; there are kingdoms that tremble; there are wars and weapons that bring desolation. But in the midst of all the raging chaos, there is a city, unshaken by the noise, sustained with a fearless joy by God Himself. And there is a river that flows, sourced in heaven’s life. But it’s not just one river with a single channel. It has streams, many of them. That gives me hope. Just a little stream of God’s river can bring to life the gladness of hope, the fearlessness of faith and the awesome hush of love.


But it wasn’t just that river with many streams that I saw symbolized on the cover of Seek God for the City, it was the light of morning. Consider these astounding words: “God will help her when morning dawns.” Do you realize that this means that it is not yet the morning? We are even now in the darkest hour before the dawn. God’s presence is steady as a river. But He is coming like a long-awaited dawn. And He will help her (the city is somehow a feminine entity) when that day comes.


Even though the photo depicts a sunset on the city, I was moved by the truth of the coming dawn. How bright the coming of our Lord. How sure His help even now in the day of trouble!


And that was all it took to remind me that amidst all of the other projects and urgencies before me, that I am summoned to pray with the joy of hope. An important part of prayer is knowing what to say. But a greater aspect of prayer is hearing what God is saying. In the midst of the noise of these crazy days, I recognized that God was calling me to hush, to be still, to listen and to know and behold what His works and purpose are all about.


So I’m going to be praying in these days. I want to urge you to do the same. Seek God for the City can be a tool to help you and the people who walk with you to pray with steady uplifted hope. But whether you use this resource or not, let’s pray great things. The river flows. The unshakable city stands steady. And the morning soon dawns.


Yours in hope,


Steve Hawthorne


PS: This year we’ll be releasing Seek God for the City as an app. It’s almost ready. Watch for it in the first days of February. Go to

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