A Heart for Your City
A Heart for Your City — Part One
I would like to begin with a proclamation from Isaiah 61:1-10,
“The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace — a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies — and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work your fields, but you’ll have the title “Priests of God,” honored as ministers of our God.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations, you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy will go on forever.
Because I, God, love fair dealing and hate thievery and crime, I’ll pay your wages on time and in full, and establish my eternal covenant with you.
Your descendants will become well-known all over. Your children in foreign countries will be recognized at once as the people I have blessed.”
We have been anointed to take the rubble of what exists in our cities, start over, and make it new.
So, why should you be concerned with taking your city for Christ? What does that mean to you?
We know that we are called to it, because Scripture tells us so, but unless it becomes personal we won’t feel a need to get in the fight.
We may hear an inspiring message, but then the enthusiasm fizzles out and we fail to follow through with the next steps of faith to make an impact.
It’s not always about everyone in the city, but about the one whom God wants to rescue and pull out of the pit.
I think about the story of Rahab in Joshua 2, a prostitute from a poor family who lived in the walled fortress city of Jericho. Women back then often had to resort to prostitution just to survive, so she knew the men of that town.
When a couple of out-of-towners came into Jericho, she knew they were spies. Rahab had heard of The God of the Israelites who fought their battles with them, and made the Israelites a force to be reckoned with.
There was an intense awareness of danger and panic, as word spread that the Israelites were on their way to conquer her city. The fear of death and the feeling of dread permeated the atmosphere.
This was a woman who was trapped in every way. Rahab was a poor woman, with a bad reputation, trapped in a walled city which was marked for death and destruction. She was stuck.
Does anyone know what it’s like to feel trapped in your circumstances, and have no idea how to create the change that is needed to survive?
Countless numbers of people live with a sense of hopelessness every day. Maybe you know of someone you care about, who is stuck in a pit they can’t get out of.
I was that woman, looking for love in all the wrong places, prostituting myself with the world. I was the addict, overdosing on a regular basis, because I hated who I was at the core of my being.
I came so close to death many times, and couldn’t appreciate the fact that God had saved me from myself, over and over again. I was full of rebellion, bitterness, and anger because life was so disappointing and difficult.
I was the one with emotional problems, often feeling suicidal and taking pills for depression, anxiety and could not find relief for my pain. I was the orphan, who did not know who I was, who I belonged to, and if there was anyone that could dare to love me.
I didn’t even know who the real me was. I had never met her. I was covered in shame, bound by so many demonic forces — I was stuck in a pit I could not get out of, and I lived behind fortified walls of fear, insecurity, defensiveness, rage and insecurity, because I experienced all kinds of abuse and rejection.
The devils in my life were hell-bent on destroying me, but I was helpless, because the chains of oppression had me bound.
I was a slave, in every sense of the word. I was the one whom everyone gave up on, and was told I was a loser, a bad mother, a nobody, and no one wanted anything to do with me.
People in my life, including other so-called Christians, told me I would die alone in a ditch somewhere. The contempt on their face when they said those words, told me they didn’t believe I was worth saving, and neither did I.
My first experience with people who identified as Christians, wasn’t very positive! I believed those voices because I was so beat down I had no self respect or self esteem left.
I didn’t know how to change. I didn’t think it was possible, so I gave up on myself. I lived behind fortified walls, so I can identify with Rahab.
I know her story, because I’ve lived with that sense of hopelessness and despair, when you know that death is coming for you.
Rahab knew the Israelites were coming to make war with the people of her city. She was bound for certain death, unless she took a radical step of Faith, but she overcame her fear and pleaded for her life and the life of her family.
She hung that scarlet cord in her window as a sign to the Israelite soldiers of which house to spare. She was shown mercy, and became in the lineage of Christ.
God knows those who are destined for Salvation and a greater Purpose, but He is looking for those who will partner with Him to do great exploits.
The Battle of Jericho, was never about saving the entire city. It was about the one, and we need to be about rescuing the ones God wants us to reach.
Like Rahab, I had heard of a God who might be able to save me. I wasn’t sure if I could trust Him, but I called on His Name.
He knew I was destined for a greater purpose, even though I could not see it for myself when I was lost.
May The LORD open our eyes to see destinies instead of current realities, and have compassion on those that we might be tempted to overlook.
My husband and I have gone through many trials. We have lost everything, and had to start over more than once.
We have experienced the fear, anxiety and stress of deep poverty, and the shame of not being able to provide for our family.
We have known spiritual abuse and the bondage of religion, and the rejection of being misunderstood, labeled, slandered and shunned.
We know what it’s like for people to treat us as unimportant and expendable. We, too, have gone through such loneliness and isolation that we had to depend on God alone, for our salvation, and for Him to send help to rescue us from the pit of despair.
Those who call on His Name, may endure weeping for a season, but God is faithful. Every test has an expiration date.
Every person has an appointed time for deliverance, if they just hold fast to the hope that can be found through Jesus Christ.
The LORD can do amazing things with people whom the rest of society doesn’t appreciate or value. But they have to hear about the faithfulness of God and His power to rescue the orphans, outcasts, the hurting and the helpless.
That is why we must all have a heart for our cities, because some of those who are lost, are our sons and daughters, our grand-kids and our children’s future spouses or other family members.
We cannot afford to be negligent in our calling to exercise our authority in prayer, to help unravel the spiritual strongholds that are a prevailing influence over our cities.
There are many people living behind walls. Proverbs 18:19 says,
“An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.”
There are many, many people carrying offenses. Words have impact and are like an arrow that pierces the heart.
Words spoken in a moment of carelessness can hurt, offend and wound others whether it is intentional or not, and some people may not even tell you about it, but they may harbor resentment and nurse a grudge.
The enemy creates a wedge between people, by whispering accusations and suspicions in people’s ears.
Is there a sense of distance between you and someone else that needs to be resolved? Unforgiveness, always comes with a sense of rejection, anger and resentment, and if left to fester long enough, it turns to bitterness.
Bitterness, becomes this impenetrable fortress. Many people have a root of bitterness that they have not dealt with, and it always brings a curse.
When Joshua came to Jericho, he needed a new strategy. He surveyed the situation at hand and the weapons he had grown accustomed to, the weapons he was familiar with, were totally insufficient for what he faced at Jericho.
When God brings you into a new season and you get ready to take the land, you’re going to need new strategies. Joshua had bows, arrows and slings, but nothing sufficient that would break through a formidable stone wall.
He couldn’t approach the problem like he had in the past. This battle required a strategy and a Word from The LORD.
Many of you are facing a similar situation. You need a clear Word from The LORD, and it can be found in the presence of The LORD, in worship.
The day I prepared this Message, there was a memory that popped up in my Facebook news-feed from 5 years ago, and it was such a word of confirmation.
This is what it said:
“We spend too much time looking at the problem. Stop looking at the walls in front of you. Stop focusing on the barriers and the obstacles – look up!
There was no roof on Jericho! God showed me a pole vaulter going up and over and He said, “I always have a way in to every problem — I just need people to believe that I CAN do the impossible!”
He also showed me Angels dropping little gifts inside the walls of a fortified city, with little parachutes on them, and then rain that looked like seeds of light raining down on the city. Those were answers to prayers, raining down on those we pray for.
Psalm 97:11 in the Message Bible says, “Light seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, Joy seeds are planted in good heart soil.”
God knows how to reach hearts and turn them towards Him. He is in the miracle business. Every time we worship, we seed the heavens with Faith and answers to prayer, and that is also where we receive strategies to upgrade our faith.
About a month ago during worship, The LORD started talking to me about obtaining breakthroughs over our cities.
I am only one person. I only have a piece of all the strategies The LORD wants to release. Dealing with unresolved emotional issues is just one part of this message and one strategy to obtain breakthrough.
God wants to give us each a strategy for the people He wants us to reach.
We need to ask for The Keys God has given to each one of us. Keys are symbolic of Authority and Power, and we have been given these Keys to enforce our Father’s Purposes.
Keys are used to turn, and to either lock or unlock doors, as we make Prophetic Declarations and Decrees.
God has given you others Keys you may not be thinking of; they are your stories, experiences and testimonies that will unlock the hearts of others.
Those are Keys to reach in and unlock their soul, as you share how God met you in your moment of need. It is also our words and prayers in Agreement with God’s Word, that releases His Power.
God has delegated His Authority to us to enforce His Will on earth, to either allow or disallow what He allows or disallows.
We can release people from demonic bondage, and set captives free. We have authority to see people healed, and release Angels on their assignments throughout the earth, to bring answers to our prayers.
The Name of Jesus is THE KEY, that unlocks the Supernatural Realm!
Let me take you now to 2 Kings 2:19-22, where men of a certain city came to the prophet Elisha and said,
“Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad and the ground barren.
And he said, “Bring me a new bowl and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, “Thus says The LORD: ‘I have healed this water; from it shall be no more death or barrenness.’ ”
Elisha got a strategy from The LORD. That means we can too.
One thing Elisha did, was go to the source of the defilement. He threw salt in, which is a purifying agent. We are to be the salt of the earth, and bring healing and deliverance to others. We need to look to the source, too, because the source of defilement is in people.
There is a root of bitterness in this Nation, and it’s caused a ripple effect of self-pity, rebellion, entitlement and division.
Bitterness creates a lot of problems. Bitterness causes Churches, businesses and individuals to be barren, stuck and stagnant.
Churches will leak members, because bitterness makes room for manipulation and control, legalism, and spiritual pride.
A religious spirit begins to choke the flow of the spirit because it’s all about control. People may never tell you why they left but they can sense when something is wrong in the Spirit.
You can’t birth anything new, when there is a different spirit at work. God doesn’t birth through selfish ambition, and selfish ambition is a byproduct of the bitterness of rejection.
Bitterness keeps offenses alive and fractures relationships. It is at the root of just about every addiction.
Bitterness strips the anointing off of Christians and causes blessings to be lost. It is the root of rebellion, idolatry and witchcraft.
We are in a season of war; we know that, but sometimes we don’t stop to think how that directly affects us or our families.
We must stop rehearsing and reliving things from the past that cause us to doubt the goodness of God and allow unbelief to settle into our hearts.
If you’re living in the past you’re not moving forward. You’re stuck. Repent for looking backward! It places us in agreement with the enemy and it makes excuses for why we let the enemy be in charge of our emotions.
The LORD of hosts is coming to blow up those fortified walls of self preservation people try to hide behind. He is coming to blow up our excuses and compel us to bring it all to Him as an offering.
He is coming with his Angel Armies to demolish strongholds and rescue the captives, but we must be willing to let go of some things that have choked the anointing in our lives.
God will grant Healing and Deliverance to anyone who is truly repentant of their sin, and comes humbly to The LORD.
- What has you bound?
- Is there something that has weakened you spiritually, an area of compromise that you have wrongfully justified?
- Is there something that has you tied up in your emotions?
- Something from which you need healing or freedom?
These are things that can put people in lock-down. Sometimes it’s a vow that needs to be broken, something spoken in a moment of great pain or disappointment.
These things must be renounced and broken so the enemy can no longer block the breakthroughs to fulfilling your purpose.
We all need to be aware of the words we speak, and break any contracts or agreements that we’ve unconsciously made with spirits of darkness.
If you want to stop repeating the same behaviors, and get free from this tug-of-war with the enemy, confess and condemn the careless words that have been spoken and break the power of them.
Teach others to do the same. All these things cause people to become stuck and they can’t move forward. If you want a great resource to help you get unstuck, please consider getting my book, Wisdom to Defeat the Enemy.
It is time to renounce any agreements you may have with the enemy that has given him legal grounds to hinder your spiritual progress.
God has an army of people whom He wants to raise up and mobilize, but too many are stuck until they deal with their own heart issues. The enemy works on all of us — daily — so there will always be something we need to bring to The LORD.
“But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:2.
2 Corinthians 4:2, reminds us to renounce the hidden works of shame. Hidden means it is possibly something unknown to you or something you have forgotten about that could be causing a blind spot.
The enemy always looks for legal grounds to bring accusations against us and block answers to prayer.
Ask The Holy Spirit to reveal any blind spots, so the enemy cannot take his stand against you and your family. Taking advantage of our blind spots, is one of the enemy’s strategies of warfare.
Have you spoken something carelessly that has hurt or offended someone else?
Are you struggling with an issue of the heart, perhaps the ability to forgive yourself or someone else?
Bring it to The LORD in prayer and ask forgiveness. Stop waiting for someone else to do the right thing and do the right thing.
Let go of those things which cause you to stumble.
Let go of your right to be right or feel justified at delaying your obedience to God.
In light of what Jesus did for you, enduring the beating, the rejection, the humiliation and the shame of your sin that nailed Him to the Cross. Not one of us has a leg to stand on, in our own defense.
We deserved death, and He gave us Mercy. Put The Blood of Jesus on whatever wants to rise up and defy the Mercy of God!
If you have an area of weakness that your flesh is struggling to overcome, bring it to Jesus and ask Him to give you Grace and strength to overcome the temptation of the flesh.
If you are struggling to Love someone who is difficult to love, sometimes you just need to tell God you don’t have it in you, and ask Him to give you His Ability to Love others the way He wants you to love them.
We don’t have to do everything in our own strength. His is available.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Please forgive my sins, and also those in my generational line. We have not always honored you and served you wholeheartedly.
I renounce all false gods and masters and ask You, Jesus, to come into my heart and be my LORD, Savior, Master and friend.
Father, please forgive me, my ancestors and others in this city for harboring grudges, resentment and unforgiveness towards others. Help us all to let go of judgments and presumptions we have made about others.
Please forgive me and those in my family line for breaking the trust of others through broken covenants. Forgive us for creating fear, anger, resentment, jealousy and grief in others, and for the sorrow that our sins have caused.
Forgive us for treating others with a lack of integrity, for failing to keep our word and for causing others to be disappointed in us.
Forgive us for tempting others to partake in the sin of evil speaking, gossip, and slandering the reputations of others, and speaking carelessly without considering how it would affect others.
Forgive us for not taking responsibility for our feelings, and justifying unforgiveness.
Forgive us for delaying our obedience, and continuing to sit as a judge over others.
Forgive us for keeping a record of wrongs when You do not treat us that way. I apologize, LORD. You alone are the just judge of all mankind.
Forgive me for holding unforgiveness and self hatred toward myself. I choose to forgive myself and let go of regret, self rejection and self loathing. I choose to stop punishing myself.
I choose to forgive those who have hurt, disappointed or offended me. I ask You to bless them in every way You want them blessed. Let The Blood of Jesus be applied to all our sins.
Forgive me and others in The Body of Christ, for treating people as though they are no longer family, simply because they may no longer fellowship at the same local Church. Forgive me for a lack of love towards others.
Father, forgive me, my ancestors and those in my city, for areas where we have misled others and caused them to stumble and struggle with sin.
Forgive us for doing things in secret that resulted in injustice towards others. Forgive us for plotting mischief or evil towards others.
Forgive us for allowing jealousy, envy, covetousness, idolatry, judgmentalism and criticism towards others to tear them down and cause them to feel rejected, shamed or verbally abused. Put a guard against our lips, cleanse our hearts of wrong motives, and purify our speech so that it pleases You.
Forgive us for bearing false witness and causing others to see individuals through the lens of false judgment, thereby depriving people of a blessing, justice, promotions, and open doors to new opportunities.
Forgive us for not getting involved to correct social injustices and allowing injustice to further oppress people.
Father forgive me, those in my generational line, and those in my city of the sins of sexual immorality. Forgive us for adultery, pornography, and indulgences of lust.
Forgive us for sins of sexual abuse and rape, molestation and making victims of others.
Forgive the sins of perversity, homosexuality, lesbianism and other sins you call abominations, but forgive me and the people of this city, for our judgments and lack of love towards others whom You love, and want to rescue.
Forgive us for dishonesty and selfishness, using others for gratification without considering the emotional impact on others. Forgive us for creating brokenness in others and for betraying their trust.
Forgive us for how our actions have affected the relationships and marriages of others, by creating jealousy, distrust and a ripple effect of other broken relationships.
Forgive us for creating open doors into the lives of others for demonic attachments, leading to more and more bondage, sin and iniquities.
I repent for any vows, covenants and contracts that have put the enemy on assignment and bound me to the enemy, whether it was done by myself or one of my ancestors.
I break those ungodly covenants and renounce any agreements between myself and spirits of darkness. Let the Blood of Jesus void out those contracts, and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
I forgive those who have hurt, offended or disappointed me, Father. Please bless them in every way you want them to be blessed.
I release them (be specific) from any debt or judgment I have held against them. I ask Your Holy Spirit to come fill every dry, empty place and let Your river of living water flow out of me.
Please bless me with my heavenly language and let it bubble up and out of my mouth so I can praise you, and worship you in spirit and in truth.
Thank you, Father, for giving me the revelation of truly being adopted as Your child, and experiencing your love in such a way that I feel safe, secure and accepted in Christ, as Your child.
Holy Spirit, show me any lies you want to heal in my belief system.
Reveal the truth so I can be free.
Please also show me where I have sin that I have justified, or overlooked, so that I can walk in confidence with you.
In Jesus’ Name, amen.
~ Laura Gagnon
Laura Gagnon is a woman who has been blessed with the gift of understanding God’s restorative work through her own personal experience. Through her insights and revelation, God has led her to influence many individuals into a restored relationship with Jesus Christ. She is a woman who stands on the promises of God, encouraging others in an elevated expectation of the miraculous and declares the gift of His life. Laura is the author of Healing the Heart of a Woman and writes for her blog, Beyond the Barriers.
Amen Laura – thank you!