Chicago | From the 99th floor of the Willis Tower, observers can see the city of Chicago, its suburbs, and even parts of three surrounding states. But more importantly, said Cheryl Dorsey, those looking with spiritual eyes from the skyscraper better known as the Sears Tower can get a small glimpse of what it’s like to see from God’s vantage point.
For several years, Dorsey, prayer coordinator for the Chicago Metro Baptist Association, has had a vision to pray over the city—from a high place. But she never considered the Sears Tower, until it was time to plan for the third-annual CMBA prayer conference.
On Jan. 28, pastors and leaders from the association will meet at Uptown Baptist Church for a morning of prayer classes before heading downtown for a two-hour prayer session atop the second-tallest building in the U.S.
Rev. John Whaley of The Rooftop U.S., a ministry that helps churches engage with God’s mission through prayer, will lead the rooftop prayer encounter. Pray-ers will spend time talking to God about his heart and his desires for the region, and then come back together to share what they experienced. It’s similar to prayer walking, Dorsey said, when you don’t so much pray what’s on your own heart, but rather you’re asking God what he sees, and allowing him to pray his heart through you.
During the recap and reflection time, Dorsey said, often a theme emerges. “…We as saints of God begin to see that God knows what he’s doing. He has a plan, he’s not just talking to me about this, but this is his heart, and he’s sharing his heart at the same time among many people, if we just allow him to.”
The prayer conference is timely, after a year in which Chicago saw more than 750 homicides. (The last year homicides in the city topped 700 was 1998, according to the Chicago Tribune). “The violence and rage and anger is all around us,” Dorsey said, but the conference and rooftop prayer encounter will be more focused on the power of God’s love to transform people’s hearts.
Crime in the city is making headlines, “but this [conference] is more about his love; this is more about the lost needing Jesus; this is more about affecting change in terms of people coming to Christ,” Dorsey said.
“The love is what is going to save people, and saved people put down their guns.”