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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Shores

Praying for the City That Never Sleeps

How can you pray for New York City? Why should you pray for New York City? Good questions. 

A decade ago, I would have answered those questions differently than I would now. Back then, I was a seminary student considering church planting. As a native North Carolinian, it was tempting to look at a city such as New York and assume its people needed something different than we needed down here. 

They do not. In fact, having now lived in NYC for 11 years, I’d first urge you to pray for NYC the same as you’d pray for any other place. The people of New York City need the gospel that is the power of God for salvation. So, you should pray for NYC as Christ himself taught us to pray (Matt 6:9-13). You should pray for NYC in accordance with the Apostle Paul’s prayers for the churches (Ephesians 1:15-22; 3:14-21; etc.).

On the other hand, though, New York City is a unique place. Why should you pray for it? I’d suggest NYC merits specific attention because of its density, diversity, and depravity. As the largest city in the country, NYC has a lot of people in not a lot of space; it’s dense! As the most diverse city in the country, those people come from all over the world. As the cultural capital of the country, the depravity of our city is more concentrated and overt. 

For those reasons, and many more, New York City is a place and people that we should all be praying for. 

As many churches from across the Five Boroughs prepare to gather for the inaugural Institute for Theology and Mission conference on Holiness: Growing in Christ’s Likeness, we ask that you would especially pray for the holiness of God’s people and his churches already on the ground here. 

Pray for us as Paul prays in Philippians 1:9-11, that our love would abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that we may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. 

Pray for us, as Paul urges in Philippians 1:27, that our manner of life would be worthy of the gospel of Christ, that we would stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel. 

Pray for God’s glory through the going forth of God’s gospel, from God’s people in New York City, to every tribe and language and people and nation. 

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