CITY & STATE TRANSFORMATION
Unceasing prayer is happening in homes, places of work, college dorms, coffee shops, parks, and churches. Through united prayer, we are witnessing Jesus transform our economy and confront the abortion crisis. The hungry are being fed and the poor are being served. We took Jeremiah 29:7 to heart and began praying for the peace and prosperity of our state: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” God made it clear that prayer plays a vital role in the safety and prosperity of your community.
New Mexico was ranked 50th in the family prosperity index[i], 49th in economy[ii], and has the 2nd highest poverty rate in the nation[iii]. But when God’s people pray, God hears from heaven and things begin to change. A state that was facing an expected $200 million deficit[iv] now has a $1.2 billion surplus[v].
According to a Bloomberg news report, since the beginning of 2017, New Mexico is #1 in job increases and wage increases[vi]. To be clear, new economic policies, a thriving oil and gas industry, and the hard work of many have made this possible. However, it is too drastic of a turnaround to be explained by natural solutions alone.
Another area where we have seen answers to prayer in New Mexico is on the abortion issue. Albuquerque, the largest city in our state, has been known as the ‘late-term abortion capital of America.’[vii] Since churches began praying 24/7 for an end to late-term abortion in New Mexico, three abortion clinics have closed.[viii] Furthermore, for over two decades, the University of New Mexico Health and Sciences Department conducted research on aborted baby parts. In a remarkable turn of events, UNM has now ended the controversial program.[ix]
Church unity is one of our main prayer focuses. We are seeking to live out Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” A unified church is the most credible witness to the world that Jesus is Lord. We have been asking God to unite the church of New Mexico across denominational lines and ethnic backgrounds. And Jesus has begun to answer that prayer. We believe that only a united church can heal a divided nation. “I have been in Albuquerque for 38 years and I’ve never seen pastors come together for anything like this. It is changing the climate,” says New Mexico Ministry Network Pastor Micheal Dickenson.
It is our conviction that a praying church is also a compassionate church that serves the poor and neglected. Acts 1:14 reveals that the Early Church was devoted to prayer: “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer.” Their lifestyle of prayer gave birth to generosity and compassion, as seen in Acts 2:44-45: “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” Both then and now, when God’s people pray, He gives us His heart for the poor.
New Mexico Prays churches are uniting to serve our communities and love them like they have never been loved before. On June 23, 2018, over 100 churches, non-profits, businesses, and government agencies partnered together to sponsor a Convoy of Hope outreach at the Albuquerque Convention Center.[x] We gave away over $1 million worth of goods and services—including 80,000 pounds of groceries, 9,900 meals, 1,600 gardens in a bag, 3,000 pairs of shoes, 280 haircuts, and 465 family portraits to 5,082 guests. We will host our 2nd annual Convoy of Hope event November 2, 2019. The City of Albuquerque has graciously sponsored the rent for the Convention Center.
A week later, 24 churches partnered with Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig for Freedom Celebration, a two-night Gospel crusade where 1,968 people made decisions for Christ. We partnered with Albuquerque Public Schools to feed over 2,000 needy and homeless children and their families Thanksgiving 2018.[xi] Through one of our outreach ministries, Feed New Mexico Kids, we have provided over 77,000 pounds of snack packs over the past 2 years to feed kids on the weekends through APS schools. As in the days of the Moravians, prayer is moving us to mission and service.
With God’s favor, we have built a partnership with the Albuquerque Police Department. We meet with the Chief of Police, Deputy Chiefs, and executive team to pray with them and strategize how to make our city safer. We are partnering together for 9 major initiatives in 2019 (see below). We made crime reduction our number 1 priority in 2018. And look how Jesus honored that prayer! 2018 is the first year in 8 years that Albuquerque had an overall decrease in crime.[xii]
- Robbery decreased 36%
- Auto theft decreased 31%
- Murder decreased 10%
The City of Albuquerque and the state of New Mexico are experiencing societal transformation through unified, strategic, unceasing prayer; compassionate service; and the power of the glorious Gospel. There is still plenty of work to be done, but we believe we are in the very beginning stages of a spiritual awakening. And it all started with 24/7 prayer and continues to be fueled by 24/7 prayer.
The Albuquerque Police Department and New Mexico Prays will partner together for public safety to reduce crime and make our city safer. Our 9 initiatives for 2019 are:
1. Community Services: New Mexico Prays will give APD a database of community services provided by churches and non-profits in the Albuquerque metro area by February 15, 2019. We will provide annual updates to the database. APD will use the database to create an App for APD officers to refer people to services provided by churches and non-profits.
2. Coffee with a Cop Sunday’s and Recruiting: New Mexico Prays will encourage churches to host an annual Coffee with a Cop Sunday and a provide table after service in the lobby for APD to recruit people for employment. APD will provide officers for churches that want to host a Coffee with a Cop Sunday.
3. Monthly Communication to Churches: Chief Geier will provide a monthly update to churches about progress and areas where APD might need assistance from the community. This will include a monthly letter and 1-minute video.
4. Security Assessments: APD will perform free security assessments for churches. New Mexico Prays will communicate to churches that these assessments are available and refer them to the APD point of contact.
5. Trainings: APD will provide free trainings for churches on community policing and security-related issues. New Mexico Prays will help organize, host, and promote these trainings.
6. Community Outreach: APD will provide officers to participate in community outreaches, including but not limited to: Thanksgiving at APS schools, LOVE Week (June 14-22, 2019), and Convoy of Hope (November 2, 2019).
7. Chaplains: New Mexico Prays will help recruit Chaplains for APD.
8. Food Collection: APD will have food collection bins at every APD sub-station to collect food for Feed New Mexico Kids (a ministry of New Mexico Prays). Feed New Mexico Kids will use this food to provide kids at APS schools with weekend snack packs and supply food to APS food banks.
9. Stand True For Blue: Stand True For Blue will provide encouragement and emotional support to APD officers and Thankful Thursdays.
Mike Geier, Chief of Police, Albuquerque Police Department