“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Psalm 127:1).
This verse in the Psalms reminds me of some glory days while I was pastor in the wonderful city of Tehachapi, California in the ‘90s. I was undeniably called of God to First Baptist Church about six months after they had endured a damaging split; damaging to the church, but as I discovered soon, damaging to the community as well.
During my fifth year there, things began to happen that can only be explained as activities of God. First, the ministerial association began to function together in a sense of unifying trust. The pastors across denominational lines were enjoying fellowship and prayer times together as never before. Spiritual bonding was taking place, and I enjoyed this immensely.
Secondly, the LORD had moved me to initiate reconciliation between the FBC folk and the church which had developed across town after their split-off. This action was never intended to bring the two groups back together as one church, but to give and receive forgiveness to one another and receive the same from our LORD. This invitation was very well received by the other fellowship, and we soon enjoyed a celebration service to seal the forgiving and loving. This was also healing to the community, and most all other community churches and pastors.
Another noted action of God’s Spirit for the city, was the uniting of multi-denominational intercessors. I requested of community pastors to “loan” me their best and most dedicated intercessors for a once a month prayer gathering at an elevated sight. There we would spend 1-2 hours, beginning at dust, to pray together for the city. This quickly grew to 30-40 prayer warriors. In those moments, we were not denominations, we were Christ’s church guarding and battling for the city we loved as Christ loved.
When Christ’s church is as it should be, lined up with the Kingdom of God, in one accord, the Spirit’s Presence actually guards the city; smashing the powers of darkness. We began to notice delinquency and corruption declining. During one of our monthly intercessory gatherings, the theme of all our praying was the protection of our children from the much drug activities we suspected, and the halting of the same. That week it was reported in our weekly paper that there had been 23 drug dealer arrests that very week. A sense of revival began to break out which resulted in what we called the “Town-Wide Mission.”
Yes, those were glory days for certain. However understand: this only happens when the Lord is allowed the freedom to build His House among repentant and Christ-honoring people in the cities. Come on, Church; get it together. Pray On!