Alarming numbers are being reported in Covid-19 hotspots like Detroit. We reached out to Lindsay Hamby & Mandy Sullivan who are on the ground in different parts of the city organizing a 24-7 prayer hotline for hospitals and neighborhood candle-lit singing in response—so that we can learn more about how to pray for Detroit as a city in the midst of this crisis. “You can’t save up peace for moments like this, the Lord just meets you there and gives it to you,” Lindsay told me, quoting one of their closest friends whose husband has recently recovered from COVID-19. “We’re getting calls regularly from friends, neighbors, & church family asking us to pray for their family because a brother, aunt, or grandfather, etc. has just died.”
Lindsay Hamby & her husband Myles have lived in Detroit for eight years, almost the entirety of their marriage. The young couple led in a house church setting, practicing new ways of being & expressing the church in small, spiritual family-oriented ways—inspired by the church in Acts—for several years before the Lord brought a conviction to them about needing to come alongside, learn from, & partner with another local African-American church planter in the city who was planting Detroit Church at the time. Lindsay has been a long time 24-7 Prayer leader, investing significantly in the Campus America initiative that culminated in 2010.
The TCF Center, a major events arena downtown, has just been re-purposed as a 1000 bed makeshift hospital to care for COVID-19 patients. Over the last two weeks, the Coronavirus has deeply impacted Detroit as one of the top four hotspots in the United States, experiencing human losses in the hundreds each day now. For many of us around the country looking on to major hotspot cities like Detroit & seeing such alarming & emotionally jarring statistics being reported, it begs the question for many of us, “How can we pray?”
“Compounding Grief” is what Lindsay wants us to remember as we lift this city up in prayer. “Trauma has been normalized here, it is something people have endured for decades. Our city is already so vulnerable. It's gained a lot of ground, especially in the last five years with a lot of corrupt political issues that people have been working hard to overturn, unjust issues that have been starting to turn around—we’ve been gaining momentum and energy as a city. NOW THIS—it feels like a huge setback.”
“We actually need the resurrection power of Jesus. The odds are stacked against us,” Lindsay shared bluntly. “Baseline health tends to be lower in poverty stricken areas, which makes people more susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19. Also, dense living situations in these same areas make it all the more difficult to protect yourself from contracting the virus. This mixed with the fact that people are needing to move in with each other because of losing their jobs, & grandparents needing to take care of their kids who are home from school while their parents are working, we need so much prayer for protection from this virus.”
“Pray for the business leaders, for wisdom and provision. We have a lot of movers and shakers, but without the ability to work, we need money to come out of nowhere—like Moses striking the rock and water flowing out. Also, pray for the unity of the church in Detroit, for repentance of division and territorialism.”
For the last two weeks, Lindsay has been working with some others to try to get a 24-7 prayer room set up in the makeshift hospital at the TCF center. She received word that permission was not given as it would simply not be safe enough due to a lack of hospital/cleaning staff. However, Lindsay & the others she’s working with just received approval to establish a 24-7 hour prayer hotline so that they can have signs posted in this hospital and one other for patients and staff to call whenever they feel they need to pray with someone. As soon as they can train more prayer responders, they intend to post signs in other hospitals and essential businesses as well.
Mandy Sullivan and her husband Jordan who also live in an urban neighborhood in the Detroit area, have also been a part of the 24-7 Prayer movement for many years. When we spoke, she shared about how they & their street neighbors are coming together in simple, but powerful ways. “As soon as the Stay at Home order went into place we didn’t skip a beat,” Mandy shared, “we began reaching out to each other—who is in need, who is alone, who needs a grocery delivery?” They began organizing communications with all the neighbors on the block with an app called GroupMe, which allows for simplified group messaging.
To help bring a point of connection & encouragement to one another, the neighbors all decided to begin a rhythm of coming out to their porches every Friday evening at 8:30p to light a candle and let each neighbor share a song for others. “It’s felt like a breath of fresh air. The point of contact seems very humanizing. And especially the image of standing outside with candles together—it expresses the grief we’re all experiencing, but also the light in the darkness.”
Let’s pray for Detroit—for the Resurrection power of Jesus to protect its people, for the healing of compounding grief and trauma in a resilient people, and for restoration in every way possible. —Tim Collier CONNECT YOUR PRAYER WITH OTHERS! There is a major UNITED effort in West Michigan underway to connect the prayer efforts of churches, individuals, ministries for our state. Join your prayer efforts on the 24-7 prayer calendar. 👉Visit WestMICovid-19Prayer.org