And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.” – Joshua 6:2
Even today, I can still see the silhouette of my dear Mamma, Dolores Hayford, sitting in the early morning light at the window of our dining room, praying. It was where Mamma (who went home to be with the Lord in 1997) would do her devotions. I remember seeing her at that window when I was a young man finishing up my high school years. Our house was located in Oakland, California, slightly elevated from the street, and situated on a very long block, maybe a quarter to a half-mile long. From our front window, Mamma could see the length of our block, and she prayed for it every day. She considered that a charge in prayer. Sometimes she would walk the entire block, both sides of the street, and pray in that way. She believed it was a call to stewardship.
We had a lovely home, and in those days, our neighborhood was very comfortable. Years later, after all us kids had grown up and gotten married and my dad went to Heaven, Mamma still lived there. By then, the city had begun to change, and a downturn took place in that neighborhood. The nearby store was held up three times in just a couple of months, and a murder had taken place not very far away. This kind of thing had been completely unknown in earlier years, and it was disturbing. Not only because Mamma was becoming older and more vulnerable, but also because we hated to see it happening to our town.
A number of years after she had come to live in Los Angeles, Mamma told me a story about something that had taken place there in Oakland probably a decade earlier. She said she was seated at the window one morning, praying, and as she was looking out, her eyes were drawn to an area of our city many times larger than the block she had always prayed for.
She said the Lord spoke these words to her: “I want you to enlarge the boundaries of your inheritance and your dominion.” Mamma recognized the Lord was telling her to move beyond the block and to pray over a larger area. “I understood what God was saying to me about it being an inheritance,” she told me, “that it was mine to steward in the same way as if somebody bequeathed money to me, and then I got to decide what I would to do with it. I realized that I’d had currency put in my hand that had a potential far greater than anything you could buy with cash.”
With that, she began to pray. Over the next two years, it wasn’t necessarily that the demographics changed, but there came a peace to that neighborhood. Crime began to disappear, and violent events stopped taking place. The change in our city could not just be attributed to better police work. It was God doing something because one of His children was praying over her city.
Mamma caught the vision that all of us would be wise to secure in our souls, God has more for His people than whatever we’ve embraced before. There are boundaries of dominion, stewardship and possibility that He has bequeathed to us as an inheritance, and He constantly wants to enlarge the boundaries. For this to happen, He calls us to pray and carry the banner of His love through Jesus Christ to the place where we live and to the world.