Although the gap between the suburb and the city has been closed, the spiritual dynamics of city life still possesses a unique threat to the human soul. Venture into the heart of your nearest major city, where our urban pastors toil, and you'll find a different level of carnal availability attacking your senses--which is why I am encouraging an intensive prayer watch for our urban centers and the laborers who serve there. But more than just an intercessory prayer covering, they need healthy relationships and friendships within the ministerial fraternity.
One of the dirty little secrets in the body of Christ is this: We assume that just because someone has been called to a major city, he or she possesses some kind of superhuman resistance to sin. And because of that assumption, necessary questions required for spiritual survival in this new millennium are never posed.
Nearly 2,000 years before Christ, a father had the ominous task of raising two daughters in a sex-crazed culture. Sodom was a well-watered valley filled with great promise when Lot, Abraham's nephew, first surveyed it for a homestead. But over time it became a cesspool of human underachievement.
In other words, Lot's land-grab backfired. But for all the knocks he's gotten through the ages, Lot's name is still attached to one of the greatest promises in the Bible: "...and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked...then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations" (2 Pet. 2:7, 9; NKJV).
A close look at Genesis 19 shows that Lot received angelic support during a desperate hour in the city. The story of Sodom is not about judgment; it's more about a supernatural, compassionate God remembering an imperfect servant in his time of need.
Lot possessed three qualities that I believe released the supernatural intervention of a compassionate God in his life. Through prayer and friendship, let's encourage these three qualities in the hearts of our urban servants.
1. He knew the importance of aloneness. When the angels arrived in Sodom, they found Lot sitting at the gate. Lot's position at the gate shows he had the sensibilities to remain separated from the epicenter of the sinfulness. Pray for God to reveal to our urban leaders how to set boundaries between loving outreach and living within the dangerous proximity of spiritual land mines.
2. He was a worshiper. Scripture tells us Lot "bowed himself with his face toward the ground" (Gen. 19:1). Worship places the strongest of men in places of transparency and vulnerability--the place God wants us.
3. He was courageous in the face of sin. Lot passionately begged the angels not to enter the city square. Though the messengers were sent from heaven, Lot's knowledge of sin told him that even angels wouldn't survive if they got too close. Later in the story Lot displayed immense courage, when he stood alone on the doorstep before a frenzied crowd and said, " 'Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!'" (Gen. 19:7).
We need to pray our urban leaders will possess discernment and know when God is calling them to stand alone and speak against sin. Lot was human. His reasoning was fallen. Yet God reached all the way through his faulty human reasoning with divine grace and preserved Lot's soul.
May we see that same release of rescuing grace upon our beloved servants of the city.