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.
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.