Every year, we make a list. A giant list of the names of cities, states and countries.
Regions of the world that we have felt the tug on our heart to pray for, areas we have personal friends or family in, or areas that we are unexplainably burdened. Every year, we check a few of the names of the list as LeadHer chapters are started and begin impacting these communities but it never fails that many more of the names go unchecked. It can be disheartening when the prayers you have prayed on your knees, in your car and at team meetings go unanswered. It moves our hearts to wonder, God, Why?
As believers, it is easy to fall into the line of thinking that if we pray, God will answer in the way we want when we want. It feeds our belief that God operates on our timeline and agenda. As an organization, we have drawn boundaries in our hearts that we do not expect God to move where we demand Him to, rather, we’ve learned to ask Him where His agenda is already moving.
Yet, year after year we make a list. Why? Because prayer matters, and prayer moves the heart of our God. One of the cities we have prayed over for years has been Chicago. Chicago is a major city in the U.S. that has significant influence. 2,722,389, people live inside of the city limits. 2,722,389 stories of hope and of hurt. 2,722,389 individuals who have the potential to make an impact on this world for Christ, but many of whom do not know that God has a purpose for them because they don’t know God or because they don’t know that God can use them. Of these 2,722,389 people, over half are women. All 2,722,389 Chicago residents are leaders, but many don’t know it.
So for years, we prayed over Chicago. We followed Chicago leaders who are making an impact on this world, we followed friends and colleagues who moved to the Chicago area, and we even prayed while we drove around Chicago on our way to Michigan for LeadHer Live earlier this year.
The week of our LeadHer Live Springfield, we were surprised by two of our LeadHer members. Both had been an active part of our chapter here in Missouri at different times and both had found themselves moving to Chicago, one for school, the other for her husband. They both made the 8 hour drive back to spend the weekend at Live. The event began that night with two Chicago girls in the audience and a third watched the live-stream feed of the event.
And still we prayed.
Before the night was over, these three women who did not know one another all voiced the same desire and call, I am called to start a LeadHer chapter in Chicago.
Not one, but THREE LeadHer Chapters will be launching at the beginning of 2016.
God heard our innocent pleas the second we added Chicago to our list, but little did we know that His answer was beginning while he prepared these three women, growing them each into the LeadHer they are called to be.
LeadHer grows in ways that do not make sense on paper. We plan and pursue leads and goals, but we only grow as God directs us to. His vision is so much greater than our own. And so for 2016, as we made our list and began to pray over the names on the list, we prayed knowing that God is already moving in those cities, states and countries. He is already preparing hearts and paving the way. The LeadHer Local impact does not begin with us, or with the Coordinators who feel called to launch their chapter, it begins with God.
If you would like to learn more about what it takes to start a LeadHer Local Chapter in your area, visit our Start a Chapter page on our website.