The Empowering Presence: Neighborhood Spotlight
By: Reality SF
Each Sunday during “The Empowering Presence” sermon series, we’re spotlighting an area of our city and praying for it. Beforehand, leaders in our community are spending time listening to the Holy Spirit to hear His heart for that area. Then we’re responding to the Spirit’s leading by praying for that area of the city and specifically for those in our church who live and work there — because the Spirit works through people. Below, you can watch videos of leaders praying for each area and pray along with them.
Arley and Claire Cornell
Lord in heaven and on earth,
We pray in the power of your Spirit that you would continue your restorative work in the East Bay. Thank you for the work you’ve done and continue to accomplish here. We affirm where we see you at work, and ask for your presence where we see brokenness.
We honor the spirit of justice in the East Bay and the host of movements for racial, economic, and political equality pressing into the Kingdom of Heaven. In your Kingdom, there is peace and equity for all peoples, and we thank you for the expressions of justice we see in the East Bay. We are grateful that you mourn with those who mourn, and lament injustice with no pretense. We pray that you would continue your work of shaping culture and ending injustice with more Christ-like manifestations of your heart.
We give thanks for roots of environmental stewardship in Berkeley, and ask that you continue to press our leaders and our community to take seriously your first commandment of stewarding creation.
We affirm the many cultures coexisting in the East Bay, and we thank you for the representation of many nations, cultures, backgrounds, and professions that exist here. We also lift up the collegiate, academic communities of UC Berkeley, Laney College, and other institutions, acknowledging that you are the King of all wisdom. We invite you to move peacefully throughout these communities and bring about harmony in a rapidly changing area. We pray for the old and new East Bay to find harmony and brotherhood, and we invite you to give us wisdom and mercy for those marginalized by the changes taking place here.
And Lord, we pray for peace. We pray for a swift end to violence and prejudice. We pray for repentance from greed, idols, and misaligned priorities. We pray for hearts that are filled with your Holy Spirit, that we may be active and obedient participants in the Kingdom work that you are doing here and now in the East Bay. Above all, we pray that your Kingdom come, your will be done, in Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, and Emeryville, as it is in heaven.
Lord, this week as we prayed for this southern Part of San Francisco, you brought to mind that this is the part of the city where a large majority of stakeholders live. It has the highest number of children, elderly, long-time residents, multi-generational households, and churches. It also has the most diversity, with significant numbers of people who are actively engaging in the local community in relational and faithful ways. We sensed that there are jewels here for the city that have been birthed from their rootedness, and that the Father has shielded them from much of the change and chaos of the city — like a Mother protecting her child. He’s given this area a sense of identity; they know who they are, and they aren’t ashamed of where they come from. This is a work of the Father.
There are many ministries that are intentional about bringing shalom to these communities, like Old Skool Café and Open Door Legal. We ask for more, Lord. We ask that the Body of Christ would resist prevailing culture, which calls it normal to prioritize our own welfare and contentment at the expense of helping those who are truly desperate and see the opportunity to participate in the coming of your Kingdom there. We pray that the body of Christ will receive a fresh wind and fresh fire to minister the love of Christ to their neighbors. We pray for those who have experienced violence or who have felt unsafe, that they would know you as their healer and their protector. We pray for those who struggle with loneliness and isolation, who experience the holiday season, as a time when there are heightened feelings of loss or pain, that they would know the ministry of your Spirit that brings comfort, and that you would place the lonely in families of love. We pray for those who look to the future and feel a sense of uncertainty and fear, that you would anchor them in hope.
We pray specifically for the children in this area, that you would call communities to take on the task of reaching and raising up a new generation of passionate Jesus followers who have roots in this city — that our ceiling would be their floor. I pray for intergenerational affection and connectedness that elders would be able to pass on their wisdom and legacy. So the next generation could stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before them. I pray specifically that those who have space in their homes would open them up to vulnerable children in their community and that there would be a day where there is no longer a shortage of homes but a waiting list of families ready to go. Lord, you showed us that when your Kingdom comes, it looks like freedom for the oppressed, release from darkness, and binding up of the brokenhearted. That your light would shine like the dawn and your joy would be our strength.
So Lord Jesus, may your Kingdom come, your will be done, in Ingleside, Crocker Amazon, Excelsior, Outer Mission, Bayview, Hunter’s Point, Visitation Valley, and Portola as it is in heaven..
Mateo & Gabby Alzate
Lord, we thank you have that you have placed each of us to live and work in this beautiful city and in these specific neighborhoods for such a time as this. You have made no accidents in your timing. We thank you for the privilege to be here, in such a beautiful city. In the midst of such beauty, we also see pain and lack of resources and relationships and are constantly aware of our need for you.
Father, we boldly come against any lie of the enemy that wants to bring isolation and despair to our community. We ask that you give us the courage to seek the Body of Christ for any and all of our needs. We pray for a deep, supernatural love to flow in us and through us for your glory to our neighbors.
Lord, we can’t help but notice the gaps of opportunities within these two bordering neighborhoods. We ask that you use us, your Church, to bring holistic unity to both of these neighborhoods. Please give us the humility and the power of your Holy Spirit see Nob Hill and the Tenderloin look more like your Kingdom each day. We pray that you would fill us with your Spirit so that we can supernaturally see your heart for our neighbors. Fill us with your love and move us into action on behalf of those we see everyday. God, we ask as your followers that you give us specific strategies to be part of the wave that brings change to all the systemic issues in our neighborhood of the Tenderloin. We humbly place our agendas before your throne and we ask to be led by your Holy Spirit and your power.
Jesus, we pray for all of the people that have come from all over the world seeking hope for their families. We pray for the businesses. For the families living in these neighborhoods. For the children growing up in these neighborhoods. For our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness, trauma, and violence. Lord, we ask that you would have mercy. We pray that the hope that they are seeking would ultimately be found in you. We pray for our neighbors who are some of the most innovative and creative in our city, that their coworkers, families, and friends would see you in their creativity and be able to give you glory.
Jesus, we thank you for your activity in these neighborhoods and in the lives of our neighbors. We pray that you would heighten our awareness of how your Spirit is moving and that we would step into the stream of what you are already doing. We ask that your Kingdom come, your will be done, in the Tenderloin and Nob Hill as it is in Heaven.
Jerry and Deb Dimasuay
Lord, we pray for the natural beauty that can be seen and enjoyed from all over our neighborhoods. For the preservation of that surrounding beauty such as the Presidio, Land’s End, the beaches, Golden Gate Park as well as the neighborhoods themselves.
Lord, we pray for all of our families who are struggling with issues in their marriages, parenting, and work-life. And especially those families that include first-generation immigrants. We pray specifically for affection, appreciation, and harmony across ethnic, cultural and generational lines.
Lord, we pray for those who enjoy financial prosperity. We understand that money is often earned through hard work. But we also understand money can be inherited. Regardless, we pray for all of us to find our worth in you instead of our accomplishments and wealth.
Lord, we pray for those of us who struggle with loneliness. This includes our single brothers and sisters who also struggle with hope in Christ competing with healthy forms of encouragement and companionship. This also includes our USF students who also have to deal with the anxieties about their futures. This also includes our older brothers and sisters who deal with having been widowed and/or facing health issues related to aging.
Lastly Lord, we pray for those who are struggling for “balance” in a city that often encourages people to desire “more.” We see the allure of our wonderful city but know that too much of SF often takes its toll. Therefore, we pray that you help us endure the repercussions and see the beauty of being counter-cultural.
May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done, in our neighborhoods as it is in heaven.
Lord, you have blessed us to be living in this city and at this time. We acknowledge that you are God and that you have not placed us here in our communities by accident. Would you illuminate your heart for these neighborhoods and how you want to strengthen and encourage those of us who live and work here?
A common theme we see across these neighborhoods is change. Each of these areas has undergone significant levels of change in the past 10 years. And while the region is experiencing much growth, there still is a need for deep roots. Would you show us how to build into and invest in this city and in these neighborhoods, and not just take from them?
You are a God of community and connection. And your heart is to bring people together. From all different backgrounds. And for your purposes. You want us to know that the people who live here have stories to tell. It’s all too easy to walk by, to avoid eye contact, to be preoccupied with our own busy-ness and schedules. But you are inviting us into deeper connection. With the people who live next door to us and those who live on the street.
I believe that you want to breathe new life into these neighborhoods. That you want us to know that you are a God of newness, of abundance, and of revitalization. That you want to bring new spiritual life into these neighborhoods, and you want to partner with us to do that. We pray for an outpouring of your Spirit and your love in this region. In a way that brings new life and vibrancy. We see new things growing and sprouting up. Show us what your abundance means.
In John you say, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” And we also ask for your healing. Would we trust you for healing in the broken areas of our lives. Spirit, would you empower us to be your hands and feet here? Would you bless and protect those of us who live and work here? Would you empower us with everything that we need?
Lord Jesus, Your kingdom come, Your will be done in the Mission, Mission Bay, Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, and Bernal Heights as it is in heaven. Amen.
Sharon Oh & Jared Shohfi
Pac Heights – Lord, this week, as we were praying for greater Pac Heights, we sensed two things: pockets of warmth within the walls of people’s homes, but also, closed hearts towards the things around. There was a sense of a barrier or perhaps a blockage. The image we got was like a body, experiencing lack of circulation from the heart to the rest of its body, and the city around.
So Lord, we lift up the Pac Heights area to you now. You’ve blessed and encouraged many residents in this area, including myself. Father, we ask that the people of Pac Heights would step into boldness and allow for connection between their hearts, their minds, and those around them. That the blood from their hearts would not stay confined in what feels safe, but would circulate through the rest of the body, bringing numb parts to life. Lord, awaken the souls of this area and bring your divine healing to all things known and unknown.
Alamo Square / Western Addition – Father, the feelings of grit, perseverance, and a deep sense of hope were highlighted on our hearts as we could see the evidence of gentrification in this area. We were reminded that there is richness of history in this region with many veteran small businesses, churches, and schools still operating today alongside the modern, trendy storefronts of late. Abba Father, similar to how the tenured corner markets of each intersection have welcomed the new shops next to it, you state in Ephesians 4:16, “From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow, so that it builds itself up in love.” Father, teach us the ways to be joined together as you equip us individually, and may that manifest into oneness as a body, committing to each other’s flourishing, building each other up in Christ-centered love.
Lower Haight – God, while praying for the Lower Haight, we had a feeling that you were speaking toward a uniquely peaceful sense in the community. We had an image of a sunrise with no cars or pedestrians on Haight street. God, if this is You, we feel that You are that peace, and through this Lord, we pray against a spirit of restlessness and anxiety. Jesus, we feel that you are so present in this community, and we invite you to make yourself at home in the streets of Lower Haight, as well as the hearts of our brothers and sisters in this specific community.
Hayes Valley – Father, similar to Pac Heights, we received a sense that Hayes Valley is closer to the day to day hurt within San Francisco than we often think. In light of this, God, we pray for connection to the emotional weight (this being the pain, sadness, and emptiness) that our brothers and sisters may feel in other parts of the city. We pray for circulation of your Spirit, God to run naturally within Hayes, stirring our Christian brothers and sisters with a heart for service, while remaining attentive to what you have for them directly in their neighborhood. I pray that Hayes Valley would one day be recognized for its service and attentiveness to your Spirit, rather than simply a neighborhood with trendy boutique shops and cool restaurants.
God, we’re so excited to see what you will continue to do in all of these neighborhoods. We ask to actively partner in what You are doing here. We pray for unity, Father, uniting these communities in your Spirit, so that we can go on and serve San Franciscans that have have not yet felt Your love. Jesus, we love you, and we ask for all of this in Your name.
Lord Jesus, Your kingdom come, Your will be done in Lower Pac Heights, Pac Heights, Western Addition, Alamo Square, Hayes Valley, and Lower Haight, as it is in heaven. Amen.
Father, You are sacred and holy, and we come to you in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior… Holy Spirit, may these words that are inspired by you melt the hearts of everyone who hears them.
Jesus… the Marina, Cow Hallow, Russian Hill and North Beach are considered some of the more affluent parts of the city, but those of us who work and live there know how desperately we need your intervention.
I lift up everyone who lives in these areas who feels lonely, broken, exhausted, depressed, worn out, and isolated… even those who attend this church in those areas who are homeless.
May those of us who live or work or even visit the Marina, Cow Hallow, Russian Hill and North Beach be a bright light – a light that shines in the darkness – a light that the darkness cannot overcome.
Give us the confidence and strength to reach out to those individuals or groups that we know desperately need you — use us to open their eyes. Use us who live and work and frequent this part of the city to reach out to those who love this world so much that they are blind to you – use us so their blind eyes will see and their deaf ears will hear.
As it says in Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear?” Let these words burn their way into our hearts – we have no one to fear and we have nothing to fear.
Lastly Father, in Jesus’s name, I feel led to remind all of us, every person who attends Reality and calls Reality home – we live in the most secular major city in the country. You have called each of us to the front line of the battle. And in your army, Lord God, to be on the front line is a gift. Thank you for choosing us, choosing this church, to be on the front line.
If we are here, it is no accident. You want us fighting on the side of truth. May you embolden us. May you empower us to fulfill our calling in San Francisco.
So I end this prayer and say Holy Spirit – God living on the inside of us – fill each of us with your might. Make us powerful, strong, valiant, proven warriors. May we all – all of us be mighty men and mighty women – a light in this city.
Lord Jesus, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, in the Marina, Cow Hallow, Russian Hill, and North Beach as it is in Heaven… Amen.
Volunteer Opportunity in Area:
Young Life: Become a leader/mentor for Galileo High School students; help with the YL weekly Bible study; make/bring/deliver food for lunch. For more info, email Joanna Clark, the Young Life Area Director.
Themes to Continue Praying Into:
Pray that God would bless enterprising good works of business leaders and small business owners in SoMa/FiDi.
Pray that we may have the compassion and curiosity to notice where God is at work, and that we may be His hands and feet.
Pray that God invites all people who live or work in SoMa/FiDi into His family (Romans 8:15).
David & Emily Houghton
Images That Came Up While Praying:
A coldness there
Looking down a street and seeing all the doors closed and no one outside
The connected backyards
Themes They Felt that the Holy Spirit Highlighted to Pray For:
God has extended an invitation of hospitality through His love and presence which the Body of Christ in the Sunset/Lake Merced area has delayed too long in responding to.
God desires to make His presence in the Sunset/Lake Merced area like the fog that envelops it daily.
The Body of Christ is called to bravely come together and open their doors to their neighbors; our connected backyards remind us that God has made a way for hospitality and love that we must take to the community by opening our doors to them.
Volunteer Opportunity in Area:
CityCru: Become a mentor to college students for Cru at SF State. For more info, email Cru Staff member Caleb Alldrin.
Young Life: Become a leader/mentor for Lincoln students; become a Young Life leader for kids with disabilities; provide food for a Friday night club; provide rides home for students after Friday night club. For more info, email Joanna Clark, the Young Life Area Director.