How you start often affects where you end up. For instance, if you’re going to Detroit from Chicago, you start by heading east on I-94, not going south on I-65. So at the start of the year, I pull away from social media (focus), I “turn down” my plate (fast), and I get intentional about spending quality time in the Lord’s presence (fellowship).
This habit has carried over to my work as prayer coordinator for Chicagoland Baptists. We began hosting a prayer conference each January that after five years became the CMBA Prayer Bus Tour. The tour rolls again in February.
Intercession is often described as “love on its knees,” which will be our theme. We will pray on-site with insight as we visit urban and suburban churches, culturally diverse churches, church plants, and established churches.
It’s an opportunity to see God at work in different churches. It’s a chance to hear the heart and prayer needs of pastors serving those congregations. And it’s an occasion for us to go on mission. Not only do we pray on site (in the church), but we also pray enroute (on the bus).
As prayer missionaries, we are prompted to pray for communities by the things we see and hear as we travel.
Serving as tour guide on the bus, I facilitate prayer using tools like the Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide (2014) and Neighborhood Mapping (2014) by Dr. John Fuder of Moody Bible Institute to pray with keener insight about the neighborhoods in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs.
During the I-55 Prayer Bus Tour in 2020, the song Waymaker (Sinach, 2015) served as our inspiration and praise. We sang it in English at Alpha Baptist, in Spanish at Cristo Del Rey, both in Bolingbrook. In Romeoville, we knelt in prayer at the altar while the song was playing in the background at Love Fellowship. We rejoiced with youthful enthusiasm in University Village with college students and other members at Immanuel Baptist.
In addition to praying for I-55 commuters, we prayed for the salvation of scientists, administrators, and post graduate students at Argonne National Labs, where I’d recently completed a temporary project assignment, so I could share firsthand insight into the challenges they faced.
As the bus came down off the raised highway structure of I-55, when approaching Chicago, we saw people in homeless encampments under the highways where precious ones were living in boxes, sleeping bags, and some tents. We began to pray. One of our prayer missionaries that year was a regional director of Moms-In-Prayer Int’l. She saw children and began to share with us the plight of children in homeless and unhoused situations, as relates to health, school, self-worth, and trauma. We began to pray anew.
This year the Chicagoland Baptists Prayer Bus Tour takes place on Saturday, February 25, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. We begin at The Peoples Community Church in Glen Ellyn (Pastor James Shannon), then to go Baptist Church of Schaumburg (Pastor Andrew Kim). We will enjoy a sack lunch as we travel to Elmwood Park Community Church (Planter Sean Stevenson) and end our day in the city praying at Real Church Chicago (Pastor Nate Brown).
There is no charge, lunch and parking are free. If you’re interested in traveling to Chicagoland from other areas in Illinois, I can direct you to our host hotel.
Cheryl Dorsey is prayer coordinator for Chicagoland Baptists, and for Beacon Hill Missionary Baptist Church where she serves with her husband, Pastor Rick. For registration information, visit Eventbrite or contact Cheryl@chicagobaptists.com.