How This Former Missionary Reclaimed His ‘Tormented’ City for the Lord Through Prayer

It was February, too cold to be outside, but we were determined.

We had been challenged to take up prayer walking for one of the most tormented cities of drug overdoses in America: Manchester, New Hampshire. With over 51 overdoses in the city last September alone, that number was staying steady. It seemed the epidemic was touching every family. We were ready to take to the streets in prayer to see change come.

Although we started out with only four of us, others caught the vision and joined us in the task, thus growing to over 30 early-morning walkers representing at least four churches and more to follow. As we walked the streets, we would come against the strongholds over this city of drugs, crime, alcohol and the like.

We know the weapons of our warfare are mighty for that very reason. As we walked Elm Street in downtown Manchester, we would pass the SNHU arena, a stadium that holds some 12,000 people. We would pray for God’s favor to one day use the stadium for God’s glory: for salvations, intercessions, deliverances and God’s praises to be in such a place.

Up to this point, the arena had only been used by one church for occasional holiday events. Such an event would be enormous and require many hands on deck, but we were presently just a handful. However, we couldn’t shake the feeling that God wanted it for an event that would massively tear down strongholds on the state level, with many statewide churches involved.

My wife, Suzanne, and I had been missionaries in Mexico for 27 years (17 in Zihuatanejo), and having gone through a violence epidemic, we had some experience in how to pray for a city.

While we lived in Zihuatanejo, the violence escalated. It became common to see in the newspaper and hear throughout the town of homicides, raids and especially kidnappings. We had been personally on the front of, the middle of and the back part of shootouts.

One time, three of my kids and I were carjacked and taken to a sugar cane field, where we were tied up and left, robbed of everything.

We have also been stopped by people with AK47s, and it was all too common to hear of stories of people who would try to stand up to the violence, disappear and never be heard of again. The regular sound of gunshots and grenades made the area where we lived a living hell for raising a family all because of drugs and the greed they breed.

As a united church, we came together to pray and fast for the city. Pastors united together to organize church-wide prayer events to tackle the problem. We understood the problem existed because as a church we had become passive and permissive in watching over our city.

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SOURCE: Charisma Mag, Greg Winslow