We live in a blessed place.

We are surrounded by majestic mountains, have the stunning Black Canyon National Park in our backyard, enjoy the desert to the west and live in a community that cares. We have a new recreation center, a new school, a new events center, a diverse recreation district, an excellent hospital, a flexible bus system, a thriving airport, educational diversity, and caring civic organizations. We can be grateful for all of these. Montrose is not without its problems, but they are offset by these blessings.

Now let me ask you a question: If you were taken away to a foreign land (perhaps Denver) and held as a captive, would you want to bless that place? Hardly! I know I would not, especially after living in Montrose. But that is what God asked the ancient Hebrews to do through his prophet Jeremiah when they were carried off into exile to Babylon.

Jeremiah 29:4-7 (NIV) reads, “4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Now think about that for a moment. If God wanted his people to bless that place, a place of exile, through settling, marrying, and seeking the peace and prosperity of that place, how much more, then, a place like Montrose where we are free and enjoy a high quality of life?

Whenever I find myself complaining about a traffic jam at Main and Townsend during our five-minute rush hour, I need to travel to Denver for a perspective adjustment. Every day I look south to our remarkable San Juan mountains, I am grateful. Frequently we read letters in the Montrose Daily Press where someone from out of town was grateful they broke down in Montrose as they were cared for by our people. We have a caring community.

Now we do have our problems. As the Montrose Daily Press reported two weeks ago, our suicides are at 13 this year, four above the annual average of nine. Our police chief, Blaine Hall, has spoken about how our crime has increased substantially since 2010. We regularly read of drug-related arrests in our police blotter. So, we need to be concerned.

To address these challenges, however, a group of Christians has engaged in an idea known as Prayerfest. On Saturday, Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., the group will be at the corner of Townsend and Woodgate with a sign saying, “May we pray with you?” You can spot the group members by their purple shirts.

Last Saturday they were at the farmers market and prayed with approximately 20 people. They hope to be at other venues a well. They are praying for God to bless our community and cause it to prosper. They are praying against the scourge of drugs and heartbreak of suicide and the discouragement of increased crime. Prayerfest wishes to have a continual presence in our community and I am part of that purple-shirt group.

Last week the Rev. Arlyn MacDonald entitled her pastor’s perspective article, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Prayerfest is one way to do that. We want Montrose to thrive with peace and prosperity, just like the Jews prayed for ancient Babylon.

If you have a need or a concern, please bring it to the prayerfest group and we would be privileged to pray with you. We don’t have the answers, but God does. We can seek his solutions together. You can also access the prayerfest.life website to offer a prayer request or to find out more information or to volunteer. Whether you are irreligious or religious, an atheist or faith-filled, a scoundrel or a saint, cranky or kind, apathetic or appreciative, we welcome you to come and pray with us. We desire for God to continue to bless our city and surrounding community. You can be a part of that. We invite you to come and pray with us and “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Mike Lundberg is the pastor of Church on the Hill.

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